News Feature | May 2, 2014

Takeda To Increase Influenza Vaccine Production Capacity

By Marcus Johnson

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited has announced that the company will be receiving a subsidy from the Japanese government in order to expand its production capacity for influenza vaccines. The subsidy is significant, amounting to approximately 7.2 billion yen. Takeda will now enlarge the capacity of commercial vaccine facilities in Japan in order to provide the Japanese government with enough vaccines for another 8 million people. With the addition of another 8 million individuals’ worth of vaccines, the Japanese government will be able to cover about 33 million people in the event of a serious outbreak of influenza.

The Japanese government issued the subsidy through a bidding process.  Takeda applied for the subsidy in February.

Takeda has a history of winning public subsidies from the Japanese government. In2009, the company was awarded 2.4 billion yen for a similar influenza vaccine project. In 2011, Takeda was awarded a 23.9 billion subsidy to advance Takeda’s commercial production facilities of pandemic influenza vaccines.  The company was able to use the various subsidies to reinvest in the company and create a new cell-culture influenza vaccine manufacturing facility in Hikari.

Takeda will continue to work with Baxter International on all influenza projects, as Baxter licensed exclusive rights to its proprietary cell-culture pandemic influenza vaccine technology to Takeda in 2010. Takeda will use that technology in the Japanese market in order to meet its government contracts.

Last month, Takeda secured approval from the Japanese government for its new drug application for the H5N1 cell-culture influenza vaccine prototype.

Rajeev Venkayya, head of Takeda’s vaccine business division, spoke on the company’s latest government subsidy. “We are pleased that Takeda was selected as a recipient of the latest subsidy, and believe this is a validation of the company’s performance under the previous subsidy programs,” said Venkayya. “With a history of supplying important vaccines in Japan for over sixty years, we remain committed to using our experience and capabilities to support domestic pandemic preparedness.”