Japanese pharmaceutical firm Takeda has teamed up with US-based venture capital firm Frazier Healthcare Partners to create a new biopharmaceutical company HilleVax.

HilleVax is designed to develop and commercialise the Japanese company’s norovirus vaccine candidate HIL-214, previously known as TAK-214.

It has granted a license to HilleVax for the exclusive global development and commercialisation rights to its norovirus vaccine candidate, excluding Japan.

The drugmaker will retain the commercialisation rights in Japan, where it will integrate certain development activities into its global development programme.

Takeda access market cluster general manager Ursula Belinda Myles said: “Africa’s underlying burden of endemic diseases is one of the largest in the world, and infectious diseases play a larger portion of these diseases across the continent.

“The announcement of our partnership with Frazier Healthcare Partners will allow Takeda to focus efforts and resources on vaccines for diseases prevalent across Africa and provide support in alleviating the growing burden that infectious diseases have on public health systems.”

HIL-214 is a virus-like particle (VLP) based vaccine candidate, validated by a randomised, placebo-controlled Phase 2b field efficacy study in 4,712 adult subjects.

In the study, HIL-214 was well-tolerated and demonstrated clinical proof of concept in preventing moderate-to-severe cases of acute gastroenteritis from norovirus infection.

To date, the candidate has been studied in nine human clinical trials with safety data from over 4,500 subjects and immunogenicity data from more than 2,000 subjects.

Norovirus is a common intestinal infection characterised by diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, nausea and occasional fever, that may potentially lead to dehydration.

Takeda claimed that the disease has no currently approved vaccines, and HIL-214 is the most advanced norovirus vaccine candidate in human clinical trials.

Also, the collaboration enabled it to primarily focus on dengue, Covid-19, pandemic influenza and Zika virus diseases.

Takeda global vaccine business unit president Rajeev Venkayya said: “Takeda and Frazier have a history of successfully partnering together, and we are confident in HilleVax’s capabilities to progress HIL-214.

“This will allow Takeda to focus its efforts and resources on our dengue vaccine, which we have begun filing for licensure around the world, our pandemic programs, and our partnership with the US Government to develop a Zika vaccine.”