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Takeda has made another move into the vaccines sector with the expansion of a deal with Baxter International for the use of a cell culture technology for making influenza vaccines.

The Japanese drugmaker has gained an exclusive licence in Japan for Baxter's proprietary Vero technology.

Traditionally, vaccines are manufactured using hens' eggs, but this process requires very large amounts of eggs and takes at least six months, making it difficult to keep up with a rapidly mutating virus. The Vero cell culture process can be initiated more rapidly thanks to its use of a native virus that does not need to be modified to allow growth in eggs, thus accelerating vaccine availability.

Two companies will use it to develop an H5N1 pandemic influenza vaccine for the Japanese market, which they hope to produce at full commercial scale by the first-quarter of 2014.

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