Novavax has agreed to grant the Japanese licensing rights to NVX‑CoV2373, a vaccine candidate modified from the genetic sequence of the Covid-19 causing SARS‑CoV‑2 virus, to Takeda Pharmaceutical.
The deal between the firms allows Takeda Pharmaceutical to undertake the local production and commercialisation of NVX‑CoV2373 in Japan, which will be backed by funding from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW).
The funding will help the Japanese pharma company in the technology transfer, establishing infrastructure, and scaling up manufacturing of the vaccine candidate. Takeda aims to manufacture more than 250 million doses of NVX‑CoV2373 annually.
Takeda Pharmaceutical global vaccine business unit president Rajeev Venkayya said: “Nothing is more important right now than protecting the world against COVID-19. We are excited to collaborate with Novavax to bring their promising vaccine candidate to Japan.
“Today’s announcement builds upon our ongoing support of pandemic preparedness and demonstrates Takeda’s commitment to the health and well-being of the Japanese population.”
Claimed to be a stable, prefusion protein, the investigational Covid-19 vaccine has been prepared by Novavax’ recombinant protein nanoparticle technology. It also includes the company’s saponin-based Matrix-M adjuvant, which is said to enhance immune responses and facilitates vaccine dose-sparing.
Novavax and Takeda Pharmaceutical will jointly work towards the vaccine candidate’s manufacturing, clinical development, and regulatory activities in Japan. The US-based biotechnology company will license and transfer the investigational vaccine’s manufacturing technologies to Takeda Pharmaceutical.
Novavax has also agreed to supply the Matrix-M adjuvant to its Japanese partner, which will handle the regulatory filing of NVX‑CoV2373 to the MHLW.
The value of the deal was not disclosed by the parties, however, Novavax will be issued payments subject to the meeting of some development and commercial milestones along with a part of proceeds from the vaccine.
Novavax president and CEO Stanley Erck said: “Takeda’s leading position in Japan, technical expertise, regulatory know-how and manufacturing capacity make the company an ideal partner to further expand the global availability of NVX‑CoV2373.
“We look forward to collaborating with Takeda to rapidly develop, produce and commercialize the vaccine in Japan.”