Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited announced its decision to develop a genetic (mRNA) vaccine for the novel coronavirus infection COVID-19) in Japan.
In April, 2020, Daiichi Sankyo established a task force to promote company-wide R&D on vaccines and therapeutic agents for COVID-19; moreover, in our role as a pharmaceutical company, by leveraging our research properties, technologies and knowledge to the maximum extent, and through partnerships with other organizations, we are proactively involved in the establishment of medical systems in the fight against COVID-19, for which there is an urgent global social need.
Specifically, with regard to COVID-19 vaccine R&D, Daiichi Sankyo is currently participating in “Fundamental Research on the Control of a Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) (Principal investigator: Prof. Yoshiro Kawaoka, Institute of Medical Sciences, The University of Tokyo) an initiative supported by the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED). In addition, using novel nucleic acid delivery technology developed by Daiichi Sankyo itself, we are taking part in a basic research project on a genetic (mRNA) vaccine with the title “Development of a Genetic Vaccine for 2019-nCoV”.
Recently, in a pharmacological evaluation of a prototype mRNA vaccine using animal models, we achieved an increase in antibody titers to the novel coronavirus. Leveraging this result, we will position the development of the mRNA vaccine as a priority project and start to consider an increase in scale toward establishing a supply system. At the same time, we aim to proceed to clinical studies around March 2021. We plan to use the facilities of the “New Influenza Vaccine Development and Production System Development Project” to develop the supply system.
In our role as a Japanese pharmaceutical company engaged in vaccine business, Daiichi Sankyo will contribute to bringing the COVID-19 pandemic to an early end to restore people’s peace of mind and safety in our society. Through collaboration with the Ministry of Health Labour and Welfare, the Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA), our research partner the University of Tokyo, and other organizations, we will proceed with the research and development of this mRNA vaccine and make efforts to ensure that it can be supplied as soon as possible.