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Daiichi Sankyo eyes trial of its COVID vaccine as booster shot

  • August 20, 2021
  • , Jiji Press , 6:21 p.m.
  • English Press


Tokyo, Aug. 20 (Jiji Press)–Daiichi Sankyo Co. <4568> is mulling a clinical trial for use of its COVID-19 vaccine under development for booster shots for those who have been fully vaccinated.


The Japanese drugmaker is aiming to put its vaccine into practical use in the second half of next year, when most people in Japan are expected to have already received two shots of other COVID-19 vaccines.


Therefore, the Daiichi Sankyo vaccine is “likely to be used as the third dose” for immune-compromised people, Shizuko Ueno, head of the company’s third division on clinical development, said.


The Daiichi Sankyo vaccine is currently in the early phase of clinical tests in Japan, involving unvaccinated people. The company plans to enter the final phase, with several thousand participants including those in foreign countries, by the end of the year.


A clinical trial of the vaccine as booster shot will be held alongside the ongoing trial. The company will aim to finish both trials to apply for government approval as soon as possible.


The Daiichi Sankyo vaccine will be produced at a subsidiary-run plant in Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo.


Clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more difficult as progress in vaccine rollouts is making it harder for drugmakers to secure as many as several ten thousand participants who will be given a vaccine candidate or a placebo.


Under the circumstances, Daiichi Sankyo plans to conduct the final stage of its trial by comparing the amount of antibodies created from its vaccine with that created by an already approved vaccine.


In Japan, hopes for domestically produced COVID-19 vaccines are high as supplies of foreign-made doses are limited.


Other Japanese drugmakers currently conducting the early phase of vaccine trials include Shionogi & Co. <4507>, AnGes Inc. <4563>, a startup related to Osaka University, and KM Biologics Co., a Kumamoto-based unit of food and pharmaceuticals group Meiji Holdings Co. <2269>.


Among them, Shionogi aims to begin the final phase within this year to supply its vaccine from March next year.



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