2021-09-08| Asia-PacificCOVID-19

Takeda to Supply 150 Million Doses of Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine to Japan

by Kathy Huang
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Moderna is facing COVID-19 vaccine contamination problems in Japan. Three have died after receiving Moderna’s vaccines from a batch that was later recalled. Although the link between the shots and the deaths hasn’t been confirmed, the Government of Japan has decided to turn to another COVID-19 vaccine supplier, Novavax.

On September 7, the country’s health ministry said it will purchase 150 million doses of Novavax COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines will be manufactured by Japan’s drugmaker giant Takeda. Distribution is pending approval from the government, with a planned rollout in early 2022. 


Licensing Agreement between Novavax and Takeda

Novavax and Takeda announced their collaboration to produce Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine NVX‑CoV2373 (known as TAK-019 in Japan) last August. Under the agreement, Novavax will transfer the technology for manufacturing vaccine antigens and supply the Matrix-M adjuvant to Takeda. 

Backed by government funding, Takeda will be responsible for the clinical trials and regulatory submissions in Japan. The TAK-019 vaccine is still undergoing clinical trials. 

Once approved, Takeda’s manufacturing capacity is expected to produce 250 million doses of Novavax vaccines a year. This includes the 150 million doses purchased by the Japanese government, while the remaining doses will be distributed to other countries. 


Japan’s Main COVID-19 Vaccine Manufacturer 

Takeda, Japan’s biggest drugmaker, has engaged in three global schemes to manufacture and distribute COVID-19 vaccines. In addition to developing Novavax’s vaccine candidate, Takeda is responsible for distributing Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in Japan. The company has also announced a collaboration with German CDMO IDT Biologika to manufacture J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine this March.

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