Takeda, Daiichi Sankyo ink flu vaccine distribution pacts with Japan's Kaketsuken

Pointing to a growing demand for seasonal flu vaccines in Japan, Takeda and Daiichi Sankyo have signed on with the Chemo-Sero Therapeutic Research Institute (Kaketsuken) to sell one of the institute's seasonal shots--but they'll keep distributing others, too.

Beginning in the 2015-2016 flu season, both Takeda and Daiichi Sankyo will start distributing Kaketsuken's seasonal influenza vaccine, with each continuing to distribute separate seasonal jabs. Takeda will continue to distribute Seiken, manufactured by Denka Seiken, and Daiichi Sankyo will sell its own seasonal product "Kitasatodaiichisankyo."

With a growing elderly population in Japan and the Preventive Vaccination Law there requiring seniors to receive regular vaccinations, Takeda said the demand for seasonal flu vaccinations is growing. Hitoshi Oinuma, head of Takeda's vaccines business in the country, said the agreement "reinforces Takeda's commitment to public health," and added it will "bolster our supply of influenza vaccine and allow us to meet the demand of as many patients and medical professionals as possible."

The financial details of the agreements weren't disclosed.

It's not the first time Takeda and Kaketsuken have struck an agreement on vaccines in the country. In March, Takeda announced that after bringing its human papillomavirus vaccine through preclinical stages, it would hand off the candidate to Kaketsuken for further development and to possibly bring it to the market.

Kaketsuken, for its part, isn't only working with Takeda and Daiichi Sankyo. In March, it announced that a collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) led to manufacturing and market approval of a prototype cell culture pandemic influenza vaccine. The company said that the vaccine's cell culture method should shorten manufacturing time to boost supply in the event of a pandemic. Takeda has its own cell culture-based influenza vaccine for flu pandemic prevention, which Japanese regulators approved in 2014.

- here's the Takeda release and the Daiichi Sankyo release
- and the March Kaketsuken statement