Takeda hypes up dengue vaccine launch progress as Vyvanse generics loom

With generics of the popular ADHD medication Vyvanse circling the gates, Takeda will have to depend on newer launches to grow going forward. Chief among those is the company’s dengue fever vaccine, Qdenga, which the company is focusing on heavily despite a recent setback in the U.S.

While it’s still early days for Qdenga’s launch, Takeda is “encouraged by the positive momentum” it’s seen in markets where the product is available, the company’s CEO, Christophe Weber, said on a conference call Thursday.

In the most recent quarter, Qdenga picked up green lights in several countries, including Thailand and Argentina. Meanwhile, the shot is debuting first in endemic countries such as Brazil and Indonesia, Weber pointed out. Takeda is “laser-focused” on those endemic markets, he said, noting that they make up roughly 80% to 85% of Qdenga’s peak sales projection of $1.6 billion to $2 billion.

In travel markets, Weber said Takeda continues to advance country-level approvals and launches across the European Union, following the shot’s broad clearance there late last year.

The company has been ramping up Qdenga manufacturing, too. Just last week, in fact, Takeda opened a new drug substance manufacturing facility in Singen, Germany.

“This was an important step in achieving our goal of end-to-end in-house production capability for Qdenga by 2025 and achieving an annual supply capacity of around 100 million doses by the end of the decade,” Weber said.

Aalongside internal production ramp-ups, Takeda is exploring partnerships with outside vaccine manufacturers, the CEO said. This comes into play “especially in endemic countries to secure additional capacity to meet current and future supply needs," he added.

The launch progress around the globe comes despite Takeda's recent decision to pull its application with the U.S. FDA. The regulator asked Takeda for additional data that “could not be addressed within the current review cycle,” Weber admitted.

The executive comments came as Takeda reported revenues of 1.06 trillion Japanese yen (about $7.3 billion) in the first quarter of its 2023 fiscal year, representing 3.7% growth versus the same period in 2022.

Most of that revenue haul came from Takeda’s portfolio of growth and launch products, which represented 40% of the company's total revenue.

Looking ahead at the rest of the fiscal year, Weber said he expects Takeda to return to revenue, profit and margin growth in the “near term,” again based largely on momentum from the company’s launch products.

Despite that sunny outlook, Takeda will soon have to contend with a forthcoming loss of exclusivity on its ADHD cash cow Vyvanse. Takeda expects multiple generics for Vyvanse to launch in August, Weber said.

In its last quarter of exclusivity, Vyvanse performed well, helping grow Takeda’s neuroscience revenues by 17%. The drug generated 123 billion Japanese yen (about $880 million) last quarter, growing 16% at constant exchange rates.