Osaka, Japan, January 14, 2014 ---Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited ("Takeda") announced today that it has entered into an agreement with the Research Foundation for Microbial Diseases of Osaka University (Suita City, Osaka, "BIKEN") for the sale of BIKEN varicella vaccine in Japan. Based on this agreement, Takeda will commence the sale of BIKEN's freeze-dried live attenuated varicella vaccine in February.
Varicella, commonly known as chickenpox, is an infectious disease caused by the highly contagious varicella-zoster virus. Approximately 80% of children are infected with the virus by the age of five and approximately 250,000 people are reported to be infected with the virus each year*. New infection by the varicella virus in adolescents and adults can result in severe illness. If a woman is infected with the varicella-zoster virus during pregnancy, her child is at risk for congenital varicella syndrome. After a person has recovered from an initial varicella infection, the varicella-zoster virus can remain latent in the dorsal root ganglion, and may re-emerge to cause zoster or shingles. This occurs most frequently in the elderly and in individuals with a weakened immune system.
The varicella vaccine has mainly been given to children as a voluntary vaccination in Japan since the late 1980s. The importance of varicella vaccination is increasingly recognized by public health authorities, and countries such as the United States have included varicella vaccination in their national routine immunization program. The BIKEN varicella vaccine is very effective, generating a protective immune response in 90% of individuals after a single dose. It is well tolerated and has shown high effectiveness in preventing chickenpox.
"Takeda has designated vaccines as one of its priorities. I am delighted that this partnership will allow us to increase our contribution to prevention of infectious diseases in Japan," said Masato Iwasaki, Ph.D., Director of Takeda and Senior Vice President of Pharmaceutical Marketing Division. "Takeda has been engaged in manufacturing and marketing of vaccines for more than sixty years in Japan and will continue to provide vaccines to protect a wide range of people that includes infants to senior citizens from infectious diseases."
* Survey of category 5 infections at sentinel clinics under the Infectious Diseases Weekly Report of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases
About Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited
Located in Osaka, Japan, Takeda is a research-based global company with its main focus on pharmaceuticals. As the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan and one of the global leaders of the industry, Takeda is committed to strive towards better health for people worldwide through leading innovation in medicine. Additional information about Takeda is available through its corporate website, www.takeda.com.