Japanese biotech company Takara Bio to supply 200,000 people this year.
The company plans to have mass production of novel coronavirus vaccinations as early as this year, President and CEO Koichi Nakao said in an interview.
Takara Bio COVID-19 Vaccine Development
Takara partnered with bio company AnGes and Osaka University to develop the DNA COVID-19 vaccine. It will start clinical trials in the summer. If Japan’s health ministry approves a production and sales license this fall, the company would be ready for mass production to supply COVID-19 vaccine doses to 200,000 people this year.
The vaccines would be produced in Takara’s main factory in the city of Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture. Once drug companies start mass production of vaccines, governments can start easing the current restrictions on people’s movements and business activities.
Ready for Mass Production
Nakao said mass production facilities to produce hundreds of COVID-19 vaccine doses required for the trial are “perfectly ready.” He also said “there is no problem [with mass production] if we apply the existing technologies.”
The COVID-19 vaccine can be produced faster compared to existing ones that weaken the virus. Takara Bio plans to use production facilities previously used for gene therapy drugs.
About Takara Bio Inc
TAKARA BIO INC. is a biopharmaceutical company.
The Japan-based company principally engaged in bio-industry support business, gene medicine business and gene therapy.
The Company operates in three business segments. Bioindustry Support segment provides reagents for research (genetic engineering reagents, cell engineering reagents, protein engineering reagents), scientific instruments, contract services and license fees for gene related patents to research institutes, such as universities and companies where biotechnology research and development are conducted.
Gene Medicine segment provides gene therapy-related development and sale licensing fees and trial products as an application field of genetic engineering technology and cell engineering technology which is core technology cultivated in development of research reagents.
Medical Food and Biotechnology segment provides health food and health food research and development services, license fees for health food related patents, as well as license fees for mushrooms.
Since launching the first domestically produced restriction enzymes in 1979, the company continued to expand its product lineup through in-house development, and gone on to acquire the U.S.-based Clontech Laboratories (now Takara Bio USA, Inc.), a company that excels in molecular biological research, and Cellartis AB (now Takara Bio Europe AB), a company that manufactures reagents for research on stem cells such as iPS and ES cells. These acquisitions gave it ownership of the three brand names TaKaRa®, Clontech®, and Cellartis®.
In 2007, it acquired WaferGen Bio-systems, which owns a single-cell analysis system (device), and Rubicon Genomics, which owns ultra-low input DNA analysis technology, allowing us to provide a wider range of products and services in the field of ultra-low input nucleic acid analysis, from basic research to industrial applications.
In contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) business, Takara Bio leverages on genetic and cellular engineering technology gained through research reagent development, as well as expertise in gene therapy clinical development to support development and manufacturing of regenerative medicine products.
Its CDMO services provide a seamless package of regenerative medicine development support services and genetic testing support services such as genetic analysis for genome sequence and regenerative medicine products.
Takara Bio is also engaged in clinical development of gene therapies for cancer, etc., including the oncolytic virus canerpaturev (C-REV) and engineered T cell therapy.
Genetically engineered T cell therapies such as TCR and CAR therapies involve a process of collecting T cells from a patient’s body and transducing them with therapeutic genes that increase the ability of the cells to attack cancer.
In this process, it is important to enhance transduction effciency of gene therapy and utilize expansion culture for efficient cell expansion.
Its proprietary RetroNectin® technology is widely used in this process, and it is out-licensed to many companies and research institutes developing gene therapy products.
Takara’s DNA COVID-19 vaccine will take some of the virus’s gene information and give it to the patient’s immune system. The immune system would then be able to attack the virus when it enters the body.
According to the World Health Organization, there are more than 60 vaccine candidates for the novel coronavirus developed by pharmaceutical companies and startups around the world. Few are ready for mass production.
This story has been given the status of "Real News". Verification has been done on ChannelNewsAsia, Nikkei Asian Review, The Jakarta Post & BioWorld.