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Manufacturing & ProductionDaiichi Sankyo to build Japan’s first factory for mRNA COVID-19 vaccinesDaiichi Sankyo has announced its plans to build Japan’s first factory for mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. The new facility is expected to have a capacity of 20 million doses per year by the fiscal year of 2024.Production equipment has already been installed at a plant currently run by a subsidiary, Daiichi Sankyo Biotech, which is based in Kitamoto near Tokyo. In January, the company applied for approval for its COVID-19 vaccine that is currently in production.The new factory is intended to enhance Japan’s self-sufficiency in terms of its coronavirus vaccines as the nation aims to convert from treating COVID-19 as a health emergency to learning to live with the virus. Early in the pandemic, Japan struggled to secure supplies of the Pfizer and BioNTech, and Moderna mRNA vaccines, which use messenger RNA to teach the body how to make proteins to trigger immune responses to the virus.While other Japanese drugmakers are also working on different vaccines against COVID-19, Daiichi Sankyo is planning to use government subsidiaries to add another mRNA vaccine production wing to its existing factory by the fiscal year of 2027.According to its January press release, ‘Daiichi Sankyo is striving to establish mRNA-vaccine-related technologies and the production and supply system in Japan to ensure a prompt provision of vaccines in the event of outbreaks of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, thereby continuing to protect safety and security in society and people’s health.’