Takeda has unveiled plans to launch a new division in January focused on expanding its existing vaccines business globally. 

Takeda has supplied paediatric vaccines for more than 60 years and has been testing a new vaccine to prevent Haemophilus influenzae type b and a combination product containing a Sabin-inactivated poliovirus. In addition, the company is also developing a human papillomavirus vaccine and a flu vaccine. 

The new division will be headed up by Rajeev Venkayya, who is currently director of vaccine delivery in the global health programme at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. "The short supply of affordable vaccines still poses a serious problem," the company says. "In Japan the issue of how we should go about ensuring supply of vaccines, particularly against emerging infectious threats, represents an urgent challenge. Going forward, pharmaceutical manufacturers will be expected to play a critical role in addressing these issues." 

Takeda's acquisition of Nycomed earlier this year - which has a strong footing in emerging markets and Europe - will support the expansion, it says.