Tokyo, Feb. 4 (Jiji Press)–Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. <4502> is set to start as early as Feb. 20 a clinical trial in Japan for U.S. biopharmaceutical firm Novavax Inc.’s vaccine for the novel coronavirus.
Receiving related technologies from Novavax, the major Japanese drugmaker will develop a capacity to produce over 250 million doses of the vaccine, for 125 million people, a year at its plant in the city of Hikari, Yamaguchi Prefecture, western Japan.
Once its safety is confirmed, Takeda will seek Japanese authorities’ approval for the vaccine, aiming to start its supply in the latter half of this year. Novavax’s vaccine can be stored at 2-8 degrees Celsius in regular refrigerators and has been confirmed to be 89.3 pct effective in preventing infection in a clinical trial in Britain.
In August last year, Takeda and Novavax reached a basic agreement on their collaboration for the development, production and distribution of the vaccine in Japan.
Takeda has already begun a clinical trial in Japan for a coronavirus vaccine developed by another U.S. biopharmaceutical firm, Moderna Inc. A total of 50 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, for 25 million people, are scheduled to be supplied in Japan by September.
U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. and major British drugmaker AstraZeneca PLC are also conducting clinical trials for their respective coronavirus vaccines in Japan to confirm their efficacy and safety for people in the Asian country.
The Japanese government is planning to start the first round of vaccinations in the middle of this month using the Pfizer vaccine.