Busy Takeda transfers HPV vaccine candidate to research institute for development

Incoming Takeda CEO Christophe Weber

Takeda Pharmaceutical said it has done its job and is bowing out of further development of a human papillomavirus vaccine. It began the 2010 development for the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer under a license agreement with the Japan Health Sciences Foundation.

Takeda said it has brought development of the vaccine through the preclinical stage and has transferred the license to the Chemo-Sero-Therapeutic Research Institute, known as Kaketsuken, to develop it to market.

The vaccine was invented by Tadahito Kanda, a longtime researcher of the disease.

Takeda has been busy on the vaccine front, ahead of a Phase III trial for a dengue candidate and more broadly emerging markets, as seen by a recent M&A deal in Turkey.

Takeda announced it had opened an emerging markets headquarters in the gleaming new research hub of Biopolis on Feb. 25 in Singapore with new CEO Christophe Weber and senior management on hand, including Giles Platford, president of emerging markets who has experience in the Turkish market and was previously based in Singapore.

Takeda vaccines head Rajeev Venkayya

Also in an interview last month, Rajeev Venkayya, Takeda vaccines head, told FiercePharmaAsia that indeed the company has looked at Indian vaccine makers as targets for M&A or other deals as it gets ready to take a plunge into a market that saw rival Daiichi Sankyo find nothing but trouble, as reported on Jan. 22.

"Yes, we have looked at and held discussions with several firms in India," Venkayya said. "It would be rational to do because Indian companies are a major player in that (vaccine) space, and we have looked elsewhere as well."

Venkayya declined to discuss areas of focus in vaccines, though Takeda has been active on the M&A front fairly recently with the May 2013 purchase of U.S.-based Inviragen in May 2013 for up to $250 million subject to clinical milestones, with $35 million upfront.

The lead candidate, DENVax, a four-strain recombinant viral vaccine for the prevention of dengue infection. The vaccine has completed Phase II trials and is pending for the above-mentioned Phase III.

- here's the Takeda release

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