Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. obtained U.S. government funding to produce a vaccine for the Zika virus.
The company declared that Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, (BARDA) has chosen Takeda’s Vaccine Business Unit to produce a vaccine to help the Zika response in the affected regions throughout the world.
According to a report on Thursday, the Japan-based company was granted a contract from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department for $312 million. The drugmaker will receive $19.8 million for the development during initial trials and possibly more during advanced phases. Rajeev Venkayya, the company’s head of global vaccine stated that human trials would begin in the second half of next year.
However, there are no valid vaccines or drugs to resist the virus wich is known to produce brain damage in infants and was recently associated with some evidence of neurological complications in adults.
Nevertheless, Inovio Pharmaceuticals announced that they are developing a new vaccine which reportedly includes a synthetic DNA fragment comparable to the virus itself. The company believes that the vaccine will build immune protection against the Zika virus.
The treatment has advanced to human trials, and it is being given to 160 people in Puerto Rico to examine if it can limit the destruction that can be done by Zika.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals discovered the potential benefits of the two drugs that are supposed to defend human brain cells from the damage induced by the virus during an investigation of medications that are utilized to treat other diseases.
President of the Global Vaccine Business at Takeda, Dr. Rajeev Venkayya, said that the Zika crisis requires a fast response by public health agencies, scientific and medical communities and governments. Moreover, partnerships are imperative for success.
Under the settlement, Takeda will produce an inactivated, adjuvanted, complete Zika virus vaccine.
The purposes of the first step of the work involve generating and presenting the investigational vaccine. After completing the pre-clinical trials, they will then need the assent of an Investigational New Drug Application (IND) to the US FDA. Takeda will produce the vaccine at the company’s offices in Hikari, Japan.
For 70 years, Takeda has provided vaccines to defend the health of individuals in Japan. Today, the company’s vaccines are helping the battle against some of the most challenging infectious illnesses like norovirus, dengue, and polio.
Image source: Wikipedia