Japan Pharma News: Takeda’s Revenue up 5x; First Domestic COVID-19 Vaccine; Industry Opposes IP Waiver


The latest from Japanese pharma, including Takeda’s big profit jump, British Linepharma’s quest to get the first ever induced abortion pill for practical use, Shionogi’s promise to become the first Japanese company to get a COVID-19 vaccine approved, and the Japanese industry’s opposition to the Biden administration’s support for a COVID-19 vaccine IP waiver.


Japan’s Takeda Pharma says full-year profit up five-fold


Takeda said on Tuesday that full-year operating profit jumped five-fold from the previous year, driven by sales of its Entyvio colitis treatment and other mainstay drugs.


UK pharma firm to seek first Japan approval for abortion pill, but challenges remain


British drug company Linepharma is set to seek Japan’s first ever regulatory approval for an induced abortion pill for practical use. However, though the pill has been in regular use in the United States and Europe for some two decades, there remain challenges surrounding drug pricing and abortion methods, among other factors.


Shionogi aiming to provide Japan’s first domestically produced COVID-19 vaccine this year


Japanese drugmaker Shionogi & Co. is planning to provide a coronavirus vaccine within the year if conditions are met, its president said Monday. It would be the first domestically produced vaccine for the virus. Shionogi is currently discussing with the health ministry a framework that would enable the efficacy and safety of the vaccine to be evaluated even with small-scale trials.


AstraZeneca, Daiichi Sankyo Partnered ADC Shows Promise In Hard-To-Treat Breast Cancer


AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo have announced an update from their second antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) program that is showing promise in hard-to-treat breast cancer. The ADC, datopotamab deruxtecan, posted a 43 percent response rate and five confirmed complete or partial responses among 21 patients with triple-negative breast cancer.


Japan pharma industry opposes US backing for vaccine patent waiver


The Japan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association on Friday opposed US support for a temporary waiver of coronavirus vaccine patent rights held by pharmaceutical companies, saying such a move could exacerbate global shortages of vital components for vaccines and stoke anxiety about product quality.


Takeda says it may double imports of Moderna shots to help accelerate Japan vaccination


Takeda on Tuesday said it may double imports of Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine to help Japan speed up COVID-19 inoculation efforts that have trailed most wealthy countries. Japan’s biggest drugmaker is handling the imports, and discussions are underway with the government to double shipments to 100 million, Takeda CEO Christophe Weber said.


Chugai gets deal with Japanese govt on antibody cocktail for COVID-19


Chugai Pharmaceutical has reached agreement with the Japanese government regarding the antibody cocktail casirivimab and imdevimab (formerly known as REGN-COV2), which is being investigated as a potential treatment for COVID-19.

Under this accord, the Japanese government will secure the antibody cocktail for the year 2021 for domestic supply, if it is approved by the regulatory authority in Japan.


Unused COVID shots piling up in Japan amid slow rollout


Unused COVID-19 vaccines in Japan are set to reach tens of millions of doses, as the country is poised to approve two more shots in coming weeks and the pace of its inoculation campaign remains slow due to manpower and logistical bottlenecks.

Japan imported 28 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine through late April but has so far used only 15 percent of the stockpile, with the remaining 24 million doses sitting in freezers.

Japan’s vaccine supply is set to increase sharply as regulators are preparing to decide on May 20 on approval of the shots developed by Moderna and AstraZeneca national broadcaster NHK reported late on Thursday.

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