TOKYO -- Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical plans to begin next fiscal year the last phase of clinical trials for a vaccine against dengue fever, paving the way for inoculation against the mosquito-borne disease.
The vaccine, which uses attenuated live viruses, was developed by U.S. startup Inviragen, acquired by Takeda last year. A phase I clinical trial was performed in Colombia on a group of roughly 100 healthy subjects between 18 and 45 years old. The vaccine's safety was confirmed, and the details were published in a U.K. medical journal this month.
Of the participants who received the vaccine, 76 developed antibodies against the dengue virus. More than 90% had antibodies against at least three of its four types, and roughly 60% had all four.
Phase II clinical trials, which examine a treatment's effects on a larger group, including children, have been underway since 2011 in Colombia, Thailand, Singapore and other locations.
If all goes well, Takeda aims to start the final phase of trials next fiscal year and have the vaccine approved in the U.S. and Europe in fiscal 2017-18. It will also bring the treatment to regions where the virus is widespread, such as Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa. It currently has no plans to introduce the vaccine in Japan, where there is currently a dengue outbreak.
France's Sanofi is also developing a dengue vaccine, targeting commercialization next year.