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Rajeev Venkayya, President, Global Vaccine Business Unit on the Latest on the Coronavirus and Takeda

March 6 2020
Takeda is closely monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and the global response. As a company dedicated to the health and well-being of people around the globe, we are committed to taking steps to help those impacted by the coronavirus and try to lower the risk of transmission.

To this end, we announced today that we are initiating the development of an anti-SARS-CoV-2 polyclonal hyperimmune globulin (H-IG) to treat high-risk individuals with COVID-19, which we’re calling TAK-888. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19. Hyperimmune globulin is a plasma derived-therapy that has previously been shown to be effective in the treatment of severe acute viral respiratory infections and could be a treatment option for patients with COVID-19.  We’re collaborating with several health and regulatory agencies and health care partners across the globe to move the research forward. To develop TAK-888, scientists need to have access to source plasma from people who have successfully recovered from COVID-19.

Rajeev Venkayya, President, Global Vaccine Business Unit
In parallel, we are also exploring whether currently marketed and pipeline products may be an effective treatment option for infected patients. This will take time, but we are moving as quickly as possible.   In addition, Takeda is partnering with public entities and other pharmaceutical companies through the Innovative Medicines Initiative in Europe to leverage our collective expertise with the hope of developing diagnostics for COVID-19as well as inhibitors to help prevent future outbreaks, and consider whether the currently approved medicines might be repurposed. 
We are excited about the potential to address this public health crisis in both the short and long-term, but we knew from the beginning that we needed to act immediately.  This is why we are doing what we can to support healthcare workers in China by sending medical protective clothing, including masks and protective jumpsuits to impacted regions. Our first donation arrived in Wuhan, China and was delivered to local hospitals in early February. The second donation consisting of 5000 jumpsuits arrived shortly afterwards, and our third donation, which included critical medicines, is being delivered now. In addition, Takeda has donated JPY 31 million to the Red Cross and various hospitals in China.
Surgical masks and protective clothing are being shipped to hospitals in China

While we continue to monitor the worldwide impact very closely and ensure we have the appropriate contingency plans in place, we are confident that patients will continue to receive Takeda medicines, and that our supply chain has not been negatively impacted by the spread of COVID-19.

We are actively taking steps to help the broader patient and health care provider community, the health and safety of our employees is also a top priority. Where possible, we are strongly encouraging employees in impacted regions, including Japan, to split shifts, commute in off-peak hours, or work from home.  We are also providing support for working parents who are home with children due to school closures.  We are significantly limiting international travel and utilizing technology in place of face-to-face meetings, to continue to collaborate and minimize business disruption as much as possible.  We are closely monitoring the outbreak and recommendations of public health authorities and will update this guidance on a regular basis.