Japanese drugmaker Takeda has been awarded JPY24bn ($313m) to develop and a cell culture influenza vaccine and establish a commercial-scale production facility.
The award, from the Japanese government, will fund further development of Takeda’s production facility in Hikari, Yamaguchi Prefecture with the aim of making it fully operational for full scale production by 2013.
Takeda has been working on culture vaccines since August 2010 when it received a grant from the Government’s Pharmaceutical Development Support Center to set up process development and testing facilities in collaboration with US firm Baxter.
And, in December, the collaboration was strengthened when Takeda licensed rights to Baxter’s Vero vaccine development and production platform for an undisclosed sum.
Since then Takeda has been testing and developing the system in Hakari, installing pilot production lines and purification technologies which, as a result of the new subsidy, it will now expand to a commercial-scale.
In a press statement Takeda CEO Yasuchika Hasegawa said: “Takeda will fulfill its social mission as a pharmaceutical manufacturer, in collaboration with Baxter, by accelerating the establishment of the production facility and the supply system of new influenza vaccines in Japan, which will enable us to deliver these vaccines to society as early as possible.
“In the medium-to-long term, Takeda will strive for the development of vaccines which meet unmet needs and have high social demand, such as combination vaccines, high value-added vaccines using new technologies, and the supply of combination vaccines to the Asian and emerging markets.”
The latest announcement marks the completion of Takeda’s move back into influenza vaccine development which, like some of its Japanese peers, it stopped more than a decade ago after the then government made such immunizations voluntary, reducing the size of the market.