Takeda’s dengue vaccine Qdenga is now approved in the European Union, following its first approval this summer in Indonesia. The bigger question though, especially for Europe, may be: is the vaccine needed?
Takeda says yes. While dengue is not endemic to mainland Europe, global travel, increases in globalization and climate change leading to a jump in outbreaks in non-endemic areas mark a need for Qdenga. It is the first dengue vaccine that can be used without testing for previous infection. Sanofi’s already-approved Dengvaxia does require a pre-vaccination blood test.
Takeda is planning a country-by-country rollout in Europe for travelers, and a more typical vaccine rollout in overseas EU countries where dengue is endemic. Takeda will work with those countries and national immunization programs, Takeda said in a response to email questions from Endpoints News, adding that the launches are expected to begin next year.
The worldwide incidence of dengue has jumped eight-fold, Takeda said in its press announcement. According to a Euro Surveill report, France, for example, recorded 65 autochthonous, or not imported, cases of dengue, well above the country’s typical handful. Germany, Italy and Spain have also recorded cases since 2018.
Dengue is endemic in more than 100 tropical and sub-tropical countries, according to the World Health Organizations, led by Brazil, Vietnam, Philippines, India and Indonesia this year by number of cases to date.
Along with the EU rollout, Takeda is working to raise dengue awareness with healthcare professionals and the general public with the launch of websites for each audience. Once the vaccine launches in Europe, Takeda will work with the medical community “to help drive awareness and adoption of Qdenga, and ease barriers to vaccinations,” Takeda said in the email.
In October during its fiscal first-half earnings call, Takeda executives touted Qdenga and noted that half of the world’s population is at risk, with 390 million dengue infections and four million hospitalizations.
CEO Christophe Weber said more details about the Qdenga commercial strategy will be provided in an investor event on March 15. Takeda’s vaccine chief Gary Dubin told Reuters earlier this year that it expects Qdenga to generate $700 million to $1.6 billion in sales over the next several years.