Pharma Focus Asia

Takeda Announces Approval of Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine in Japan

Friday, May 21, 2021

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited announced that the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) granted special approval under article 14-3 of the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Act for emergency use of Moderna’s mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, TAK-919, now known as COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna Intramuscular Injection, in Japan. The approval is based on positive clinical data from Takeda’s Phase 1/2 immunogenicity and safety clinical trial of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in Japan, which showed an immune response consistent with results from Moderna’s pivotal Phase 3 COVE trial conducted in the United States. Takeda plans to begin distribution in Japan immediately.

“This is an important step in Takeda’s support of Japan’s pandemic response,” said Rajeev Venkayya, president of the Global Vaccine Business Unit at Takeda. “Moderna’s vaccine has demonstrated an excellent safety and effectiveness profile to date, and we are excited to make it available to the Japanese population.”

The approval is the result of a three-way agreement announced in October 2020 with Moderna and Government of Japan’s Ministry of Health Labour and Welfare (MHLW) to distribute 50 million doses of TAK-919 in Japan in the first half of 2021. Takeda also entered into a collaboration with Novavax to develop, manufacture and commercialize Novavax’ COVID-19 vaccine candidate (TAK-019) in Japan.

Takeda’s efforts to bring the COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna Intramuscular Injection and Novavax’ vaccine candidates to Japan are supported by the MHLW and the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED).

TAK-919 Clinical Trial and Results

Takeda is conducting a placebo-controlled Phase 1/2 study in Japan to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of two vaccinations of TAK-919 given 28 days apart. Takeda enrolled 200 participants aged 20 years and older. Each participant was assigned to receive a placebo or a 0.5 ml dose of TAK-919 at both vaccinations. Participants will be followed for 12 months after the second vaccination.

This interim analysis showed that binding antibody and neutralizing antibody titers were elevated at 28 days after the second dose in 100% of people vaccinated with two 0.5ml doses of TAK-919 given 28 days apart. The vaccine candidate was generally well-tolerated with no significant safety concerns reported. Takeda intends to publish additional data in a peer-reviewed journal.

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