Novavax (NVAX 2.00%) is teaming up with Japanese drug maker Takeda Pharmaceutical (TAK -0.47%) to sell Novavax's coronavirus vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, as a prevention for COVID-19 in Japan.

Takeda will be responsible for manufacturing the protein part of the vaccine and will get some help from Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. The agency has pledged to help fund the manufacturing technology transfer, establishment of infrastructure, and scale-up of manufacturing for the vaccine.

Novavax will be responsible for providing Matrix-M, the adjuvant that's injected with the protein-based vaccine to increase the patient's immune reaction to the viral protein. Early stage results suggested that inclusion of Matix-M resulted in comparable immune reactions, even when the protein part of the vaccine was reduced by a fifth.

Shoulder and a hand carrying a syringe

Image source: Getty Images.

Assuming the vaccine makes its way successfully through the clinical trial process, Takeda will be responsible for regulatory submission of the drug in Japan. If the vaccine is approved in Japan, Takeda expects it can manufacture over 250 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine per year.

Through the deal announced on Friday, Novavax will receive undisclosed payments based on development and commercial milestones, as well as a portion of proceeds from the vaccine.

Unfortunately, without additional details of the deal, it's extremely hard to value Novavax's deal with Takeda. Reading between the lines, though, the deal appears to be signaling that the Japanese drug maker is endorsing Novavax's technology as one of the front-runners in the race to develop the first coronavirus vaccine.