Moderna Taps Takeda to Distribute Vaccine in Japan

06.11.2020 - US vaccine manufacturer Moderna has tapped Takeda as marketing partner for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate mRNA-1273f in Japan. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The Japanese drugmaker will import and distribute the vaccine starting in the first half of next year as well as handle local regulatory approvals. The original contract is for 50 million doses.

Moderna's recombinant vaccine candidate is currently in a 30,000-patient Phase 3 study, for which early data is expected sometime later this month. Takeda is already engaged in other segments of the coronavirus protection and treatment market, as a manufacturer and also as an R&D lead on a convalescent plasma-based therapy.

This is the second vaccine distribution contract for the Tokyo group, In August, it signed an agreement with US independent biopharma Novavax to develop, manufacture and sell the biotech’s coronavirus vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373 in Japan. The candidate is currently in Phase 3 trials in the UK and is set to begin late-stage trials in the US and Mexico.

Without disclosing full details, the two companies said in a statement that Japanese health authorities would help fund technology transfer, create new infrastructure and scale up manufacturing, with an eye to producing 250 million doses annually.

In October, Takeda, CSL Behring and other companies in the CoVIg Plasma Alliance started commercial manufacturing of their immunoglobulin (H-Ig) drug to fight Covid-19 as a Phase 3 trial run by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). This is due to be completed by year’s end. 

Clinical batches for the NIAID trial were produced at Takeda’s US facility near Covington, Georgia – a site picked up in the 2018 acquisition of Shire – and CSL’s site in Bern, Switzerland. 

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist