Takeda partners with Australian pharmaceutical giant to develop anti-COVID-19 drug

08, Apr. 2020

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SYDNEY, NNA – Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. of Japan has reached a deal with Australian pharmaceutical giant CSL Ltd. to co-develop a drug to cure an infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus that’s spreading around the world.

The Tokyo-based pharmaceutical heavyweight announced Monday it had signed a contract with Melbourne-based CSL for developing the drug for COVID-19.

Patients who have been infected with the virus and developed critical complications will probably benefit, Takeda said in a statement.

Takeda and CSL Behring LLC, a U.S. subsidiary of the Australian partner, will link with four other firms in developing a plasma fractionated product, “anti-SARS-CoV-2 polyclonal hyperimmune globulin,” that experts believe will provide an effective cure.

The other four partners are German biotherapeutic drug manufacturer Biotest AG, British biotherapeutic drug firm Bio Products Laboratory Ltd., French LFB Group and Swiss Octapharma AG.

Takeda says it is ready to accelerate the development process and will try to supply a large quantity of the drugs.

The Japanese firm is concentrating now on ensuring that all partners in the project have enough plasma to develop the drug and start clinical trials early on, a spokeswoman in Japan told NNA. CSL’s chief scientific officer has indicated those trials could start within several months.

Drug developers must collect massive amounts of plasma from people who have fully recovered from COVID-19 to obtain antibodies against the new coronavirus. CSL estimates it needs 100 to 500 former patients. Companies on the project expect help from universities and government agencies.