Takeda gains $38M polio vaccine grant from Gates Foundation

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Takeda has been given a $38 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support global polio eradication in developing countries as the world is on the brink of ending the spread of the disease forever.

With this funding, the Japanese drugmaker said it will develop, license and supply at least 50 million doses per year of Sabin-strain inactivated poliovirus vaccine (sIPV) to more than 70 developing countries. The vaccine will be manufactured at Takeda’s facility in Hikari, Japan.

As part of a global plan to eradicate the crippling disease--which experts say the world could see the last case this year--countries will need to switch from using oral polio vaccine to the inactivated polio vaccine to make sure the disease does not reappear.

There are currently only 12 cases of the contagious viral disease recorded worldwide so far this year--in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Christophe Weber, president and CEO of Takeda, said: “Takeda is honored to partner with the Gates Foundation to support the polio endgame. This represents a major commitment by a Japanese company to the health of children in developing countries around the world.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the Gates Foundation will provide a $38 million grant to Takeda to use its vaccine manufacturing platform to develop and license a Sabin-strain inactivated polio vaccine, and make at least 50 million doses per year available at an affordable price for developing countries receiving Gavi support.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, brings together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries. Takeda’s sIPV was originally licensed from the Japan Polio Research Institute, which is now a part of BIKEN.

“Takeda’s polio program demonstrates our commitment to tackle the most important public health problems and promote access for the populations in greatest need, joining our programs in dengue, norovirus, and hand, foot and mouth disease,” added Dr. Rajeev Venkayya, president of Takeda’s Vaccine Business Unit.

“We’re excited about this partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the potential to reach hundreds of millions of children around the globe as part of the final push to eradicate polio.”

Polio (aka poliomyelitis) is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease caused by the poliovirus. There is no cure, but there are vaccines. The disease invades the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis in a matter of hours. Polio can strike at any age, but it mainly affects children under five years’ old.

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