April 5 Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical
said on Wednesday it had completed enrolment for a
20,000-subject dengue vaccine trial, the largest clinical study
in its history, signalling the global ambitions of its vaccine
Japan's largest drugmaker has taken a conscious decision to
become more international under its French CEO Christophe Weber,
who took over in 2015.
The international dengue study will test the experimental
vaccine on 20,100 children and adolescents in eight countries in
Latin America and Asia where the mosquito-borne disease is
endemic. Initial results are expected in 2018.
Dengue kills about 20,000 people per year and infects
hundreds of millions, and the virus is becoming much more
prevalent and widespread.
Sanofi already has a dengue vaccine on the market,
called Dengvaxia, but the French drugmaker's product is not
perfect and did not protect equally against the four different
serotypes of dengue in clinical tests.
As a result, academic researchers and rival manufacturers
are continuing to work towards better vaccines. Takeda’s shot
produced promising results against four dengue strains in
earlier smaller studies.
Last November, Takeda announced it would invest more than
100 million euros ($107 million) to build a new manufacturing
plant for its dengue vaccine candidate in Singen, Germany.
($1 = 0.9362 euros)
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler. Editing by Jane Merriman)