Takeda consolidates in U.S. amid sharp global vaccine competition

A move by Takeda Pharmaceutical to consolidate its Vaccine Business Unit into hubs should allow sharper focus on a complex set of vaccine programs covering norovirus, dengue and seasonal influenza in an increasingly competitive global horse race.

Firms such as India's Zydus Cadilla in India plan to join heavyweights such as GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), Pfizer ($PFE) and Sanofi ($SNY) in eyeing segments of the global vaccine markets as nations like China, Indonesia, South Korea and Malaysia eye national champions in the space.

For Takeda, a key will be the success, or lack thereof, of Sanofi's rollout plans at the public-health level for a dengue vaccine that has a high-stakes manufacturing and approval strategy.

Takeda CEO Christophe Weber

"We have now expanded our rolling submissions into endemic countries in Latin America, and we anticipate the first licenses to be granted in countries in Asia and Latin America in the second half of 2015. The current dengue fever outbreak in Brazil reminds us of the significant unmet need we are targeting with this vaccine," the company said in May.

In April, Takeda said it was eyeing Phase III for its own dengue vaccine candidate. The company has also hinted it is open to acquisitions in India and elsewhere in the vaccines business.

Takeda said it would close vaccine facilities in Bozeman, MT, and sites in Madison, WI, and Fort Collins, CO, that were added in the $250 million acquisition of Inviragen in 2013. The U.S. vaccine business hub in Deerfield, IL, will shift to Boston/Cambridge.

- here's the release from Takeda