Takeda looks to grow vaccine business as dengue fever, COVID-19 shot progress: CEO


Tokyo — Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, which distributes COVID-19 shots from Moderna Inc. in Japan, expects the vaccine to approach regulatory approval as dengue and COVID-19 shots and become a larger part of its portfolio. ..

Takeda, Japan’s largest pharmaceutical company and one of the top 10 in the world after acquiring Shire Plc in 2019, is traditionally known for its cancer and gastrointestinal treatments.

However, the vaccine defined much of the company’s activities as it worked to bring foreign-developed shots to Japan during the coronavirus pandemic.

Takeda’s CEO Christophe Weber said in an interview broadcast at the Pharma Japan 2021 conference at the Reuters event on Tuesday that vaccine manufacturing is a “very long-lived when established” business. Said.

“For example, there are no generics for vaccines, which means that this is another type of life cycle, but bringing innovation can be a very good business,” he added.

Takeda’s dengue vaccine was submitted to European regulators in March, and the company said it plans to apply for approval in several countries in South America and Asia this year. Takeda has been working on this shot for nearly a decade, but is now in the “final stage,” Weber said.

The company has imported Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine into Japan approximately 50 million times and is licensed to manufacture the Novavax Inc vaccine currently under study.

The Government of Japan has agreed to purchase another 50 million Moderna shots to be delivered next year, along with 150 million Novabax doses.

Approximately 1.6 million Moderna doses were recalled in Japan this month after the discovery of small metal contaminants in several vials. This problem goes back to the Spanish production line.

Weber said such problems can occur in drug manufacturing and wiped out suggestions that they were caused by companies rushing to bring vaccines to market.

Takeda has some of the key sellers to lose patent protection over the next few years and is betting heavily on more than 10 drug pipelines in late development. One of them, the blood cancer treatment known as pebonedistat, has been stopped this month due to inadequate test results.

“If you have 40 products in the clinical phase, you don’t depend on one or two products in your pipeline,” Weber said.

Rocky Swift