Tokyo-Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., which distributes Moderna Inc.’s COVID-19 shots in Japan, expects vaccines to become a big part of its portfolio as shots for dengue fever and COVID-19 near regulatory approval. Chief Executive said.
Takeda, Japan’s largest drugmaker and ranked among the top 10 globally after its 2019 acquisition of Shire plc, is traditionally known more for its cancer and gastrointestinal treatments.
But vaccines have defined much of the company’s activities during the coronavirus pandemic, as it has worked to bring foreign-grown shots to Japan.
“Vaccine production is a business that “when established, has a very long life,” Takeda CEO Christoph Weber said in an interview broadcast at Reuters Events’ Pharma Japan 2021 conference on Tuesday.
“For example, vaccines have no generic. So it is a different kind of lifecycle, but it can be a very good business if you bring innovation,” he said.
Takeda’s dengue fever vaccine was submitted to European regulators in March, and the company said it plans to file for approval in several South American and Asian countries this year. Takeda has been working on the shot for nearly 10 years, which is now in its “final stages,” Weber said.
The company has imported nearly 50 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine into Japan and has a license to manufacture Novavax Inc’s vaccine, which is currently undergoing trials.
Japan’s government has agreed to buy 50 million Moderna shots and 150 million Novavax doses to be distributed next year.
About 1.6 million Moderna doses were recalled in Japan this month after small metal contaminants were discovered in some vials, a problem traced back to a production line in Spain.
Weber said such problems sometimes occur in pharma manufacturing, dismissing the suggestion that it was caused by companies rushing to bring vaccines to market.
With some of its main vendors due to lose patent protection in the coming years, Takeda has been betting heavily on a pipeline of more than 10 drugs in development as of late. One of them, a blood cancer treatment known as pavonidistat, went out of business this month after poor test results.
“We don’t rely on a product in our pipeline, or two, when we have 40 in the clinical phase,” Weber said.
by Rocky Swift
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times