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Takeda starts clinical trial of Novavax COVID-19 vaccine in Japan

This June 2, 2018 file photo shows Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.'s global headquarters in Tokyo. (Photo courtesy of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. said Wednesday it has started a clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by U.S. biotechnology firm Novavax Inc. in Japan, planning to domestically produce and supply it in the second half of 2021.

    The Japanese drugmaker said it expects to gain results from a study on 200 Japanese participants aged 20 or older in the second half of this year.

    The company is capable of producing over 250 million doses of the vaccine, it said.

    Takeda, which is already in the process of carrying out a clinical trial in Japan of U.S. drugmaker Moderna Inc.'s COVID-19 vaccine, said it finished the enrollment of study candidates earlier in the month.

    Based on an agreement with the Japanese government, Takeda will import and distribute 50 million doses of Moderna's vaccine in the first half of this year once it gains Japanese regulatory approval.

    Last week Japan started administering Pfizer Inc.'s coronavirus vaccine to health workers in the first phase of its vaccination program.

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