Daiichi Sankyo puts $80M into Tokyo vaccine plant

Daiichi Sankyo has some new vaccines in the pipeline and is getting prepared for their production with the soon-to-be-completed expansion of a plant in Tokyo.

The Japanese drugmaker is investing ¥10 billion ($79.7 million) to add a new building at its Kitasato Daiichi Sankyo Vaccine's main production site in Saitama Prefecture, according to the Nikkei Asian Review. The site has two existing facilities, one that makes a mumps vaccine, the other making influenza vaccines. The new building, which may be complete as soon as this month, is expected to manufacture some new offerings, the Review reports.

The drugmaker and partner Terumo in April filed for approval of a new seasonal flu jab that uses a short-needle intradermal injection. It also has in trials a 5-in-one vaccine that includes protection against bacterial meningitis in children, the publication said.

Daiichi has had some vaccine production issues in the past. Last year, processing problems kept it from hitting an output goal for the notoriously difficult-to-manufacture H5N1 avian influenza vaccine. In 2011, Daiichi committed to creating the capacity to supply the Japanese Ministry of Health with 40 million doses of H5N1 vaccine within 6 months of being told to start production. But last year when it was under the gun to do just that, it told the Japanese Ministry of Health it was going to come up short.

It discovered diminishing yields during zonal ultracentrifugation and final filtering. It tracked the problem back to suboptimal process conditions during ultracentrifugation and the clogging of vaccine on the filter, it said at the time.

- read the Nikkei Asian Review story