2021. 10. 06
SK bioscience will continue production of global biopharmaceutical company´s COVID-19 vaccines next year. In addition to its own COVID-19 vaccine entered phase 3 clinical trial, SK raises expectations for contributing to overcoming the pandemic situation with the such extension of production for other COVID-19 vaccines from global biopharmaceutical companies.
SK bioscience said, it has entered into extension of its capacity reservation agreement with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), on October 5th in Brussels, Belgium, for extended use of parts of manufacturing capacity in its plant, the L House for the production of COVID-19 vaccines developed by biopharmaceutical companies under the support of CEPI. Further, the two organizations agreed to continue to cooperate closely to overcome the current pandemic situation and support research and development of vaccines against various infectious diseases which have been frequently breaking out recently.
Chang-Won Choi, Vice President of SK discovery, Jae-Yong Ahn, CEO of SK bioscience, and Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI participated the ceremony to discuss cooperative measures for equitable access of COVID-19 vaccines in the world.
At the meeting, SK and CEPI agreed extension of the use of the L House plant. The original contract was signed in June last year with term period until the end of this year. The contract states that three out of SK’s nine separated production facilities in the L House will be prioritized for the production of COVID-19 vaccines developed by companies under the support of CEPI by the end of the next year.
SK and CEPI also agreed a down payment of only 1 Euro (about 1,375 KRW), emphasizing a symbolic meaning of the SK’s efforts with the world to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, and cooperative relationship with international organizations such as CEPI and COVAX facility.
CEPI continues to utilize the SK’s facilities for its public goal of equitable access of COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX facility. Based on latest supply forecasts, COVAX currently expects to meet the milestone of delivering 2 billion doses by end of Q1, 2022.
SK bioscience has proven its world-class manufacturing technology with obtaining European Good Manufacturing Practice (EU-GMP) for the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing facility of L House earlier this year. The company further expects that additional consignment of production to use the capacity under the extended contract with CEPI will be achieved quickly and is currently under negotiation with various global biopharmaceutical companies. L House has the strength to carry out large-scale commercial production of millions of doses per year and simultaneously diverse types of vaccines through independent facilities within the factory.
Under the current L-House capacity reservation contract, the COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by Novavax with the support of CEPI has been produced.
Further, SK plans to accelerate the development of ‘GBP510,’ a COVID-19 vaccine candidate jointly developed with the Institute for Protein Design (IPD) at Washington University, combined with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)´s pandemic adjuvant. The candidate is currently undergoing phase III clinical trials.
CEPI and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have been providing fund a total of up to US $213.7 million from the initial development stage of GBP510.
GBP510, wased as the first vaccine candidate for the ´Wave2´ (next-generation COVID-19 vaccine) program launched by CEPI last year to support differentiated COVID-19 vaccine candidates. Once it is commercialized, hundreds of millions of the doses are planned to be supplied to the world through COVAX facility, including developing countries.
In addition, SK and CEPI are cooperating the development of a vaccine candidate against COVID-19 variant utilizing ´GBP510´ platform and research on booster shots.
Richard Hatchett, CEO at CEPI, said ““I am delighted to today extend our partnership with SK bioscience and reserve additional manufacturing capacity to produce CEPI-supported vaccines for globally fair distribution via COVAX. While over 6.2 billion doses have now been rolled out around the world, only 2.3% of people in low-income countries have received their first shot. We must continue to work to overcome these unacceptable inequities. By securing this additional production capacity with SK bioscience, we can push forward our joint commitment to increase global COVID-19 vaccine supply and deliver on our COVAX promise to enable equitable access to doses and protect vulnerable populations worldwide. This expanded collaboration further strengthens ties between our two organizations and with the Republic of Korea and, in doing so, helps to bolster the world’s ability to control COVID-19”.
Jae-Yong Ahn, CEO of SK Bioscience, said, “The certified manufacturing and technological system demonstrated by contract production of COVID-19 vaccines have led to the extension of the contract with CEPI. Next year, we will definitely secure and supply our own COVID-19 vaccine, so we will serve as a hub for global vaccine supply.”