Takeda and Gates Foundation’s $38M Deal for Polio Vaccine Development


Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceuticals entered into a US$38 million deal with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a new polio vaccine. This is a low cost vaccine measure, shall be developed for use in developing countries.

takeda pharma logoAs a part of this deal, Takeda shall use Gates Foundation fund to ramp upBill-Melinda-Gates-Foundation-Logo Takeda’s innovative vaccine manufacturing platform to develop, license and supply the vaccine. Takeda plans to do at least 50 million doses per year to supply to more than 70 developing countries at an affordable price.

This vaccine is different from the traditional Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV). This is a Sabin strain inactivated polio vaccine (sIPV). It uses the inactivated Sabin strain of the polio virus. The current formulation provides immunity to 99% individuals after 3 doses. The global plans to eradicate polio need an IPV to make sure that the disease does not reappear. This deal makes sure that the world has enough vaccine to get the job done and get a polio free world as was also pointed out by Christopher Elias, head of Global development Gates Foundation. Thus, as more and more countries switch from the OPV to the IPV, such a deal shall prove essential to ensure that we do not run out of stock.

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.”

Since this vaccine is being developed for use majorly in developing countries, it shall be made available at a very low and affordable price. The vaccine is supported by the WHO, UNICEF and GAVI, the vaccine alliance (GAVI vaccine alliance brings together public and private sectors with a goal of creating access to vaccines for children of developing countries). The polio virus can cause irreversible paralysis within hours and according to WHO as long as a single virus is circulating, people are at risk. But it is a relief to have only 12 recorded cases of polio so far in this year all over the world (Pakistan and Afghanistan).

We are at a fringe to eradicate this menace and such a vaccine development deal acts to fuel the eradication programme.

Christopher Elias, President, Global Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation stated, “In 2016, the world is closer than ever to eradicating polio. To eradicate polio we need to ensure every last child is protected from the disease- this partnership will help to ensure that the world has enough vaccine to get the job done and maintain a polio free world.”

The vaccine was originally licensed from Japan Polio Research Institute. It has already completed mid stage Phase II trials. Once it is fully tested and licensed it will be ready to be manufactured at Takeda in Hikari, Japan.

Featured image credit: 2012 Tournament of Roses Parade-Rotary © MarieAppert (Stock Photo ID: 28407518) 

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