Takeda loans J&J CDMO space to support COVID vaccine roll out

IDT Biologika will use capacity reserved for Takeda’s dengue vaccine candidate to provide fill-finish for Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 single-shot jab.

Contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) IDT Biologika had been contracted to use its Dessau site in Germany to manufacture Takeda’s dengue vaccine candidate, TAK-003. However, the facility will now be dedicated to filling and packaging J&J’s vaccine, which received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in February this year.

J&J’s vaccine will be manufactured at the Dessau site for three months before IDT Biologika resumes production of TAK-003. According to the CDMO, the three-month short-term agreement “is crucial” to TAK-003’s planned launch.

Image/iStock: panida wijitpanya

“I am grateful to our longstanding customer Takeda for their flexibility, allowing us to help provide much-needed COVID-19 vaccines to the world,” said Jürgen Betzing, IDT Biologika’s CEO. “It has become abundantly clear over the past months that the challenges posed by the pandemic can only be solved by cooperation and commitment. I believe this short-term arrangement between three industry organizations demonstrates our sector’s willingness and ability to contribute to creatively solving this crisis.”

This is not IDT Biologika’s first role in supporting the production of COVID-19 vaccines.

Last month, AstraZeneca signed a letter of intent with IDT Biologika to help produce its COVID-19 vaccine, AZD1222. The vaccine is expected to be manufactured at the Dessau site, which is said to be adding up to five 2,000 L bioreactors to make millions more doses per month of the vaccine.

Takeda is not the only firm to donate CDMO space to support industry’s efforts to tackle COVID-19. Last May, through its gene therapy business AveXis, Novartis dedicated manufacturing space at a facility run by its CDMO Catalent to the project.

Takeda takes three

In entering this agreement, Takeda is now supporting three different COVID-19 vaccines. Last August, Novavax partnered with the Japanese firm to develop, manufacture, and commercialize its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373.

Takeda also teamed with Moderna and the Japanese government in October 2020 to import and distribute 50 million doses of mRNA-1273 in Japan during the first half of 2021.

“We are pleased to work with IDT to support Janssen’s efforts to make its COVID-19 vaccine available and accessible to as much of the world as possible,” said Rajeev Venkayya, president, Global Vaccine Business Unit at Takeda. “We also recognize the massive unmet need for a dengue vaccine and will work closely with IDT to mitigate the impact on the supply of TAK-003.”

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