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LOS ANGELES, CA, November 01, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ -- SK Bioscience will continue to produce COVID-19 vaccines for global pharmaceutical companies on consignment in 2022.
SK Bioscience announced on Oct. 5 that it signed an extension agreement for the facility use contract to use a part of the Andong L House stock solution production facility for the production of a COVID-19 vaccine for a company supported by CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) at a business agreement ceremony with the international private organization CEPI held in Brussels, Belgium.
SK Bioscience and CEPI finally reached an agreement to extend the Andong L House facility use contract until the end of 2022. It was signed in June last year and was about to expire at the end of this year. The contract states that by the end of next year, three of SK Bioscience's nine stock solution production facilities in L House will be used first for the consignment production of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by a company supported by CEPI.
SK Bioscience has proven its world-class technological prowess by acquiring the European EU-GMP (Excellent Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Quality Control Standards) for the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing facility of L House earlier this year. It is expected that additional consignment production contracts following the extension of the facility use contract will be effective quickly, and are currently in discussion with various global companies.
L House can carry out large-scale commercial production of hundreds of millions of units per year. It also has the advantage of being able to simultaneously manufacture several types of vaccines through an independent stock solution production facility within the factory. In the existing L House facility use contract, which was scheduled to expire at the end of this year, a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) of Novavax, a US bio company that developed a COVID-19 vaccine candidate took place with the support of CEPI.
SK Bioscience also joins the world's efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. This is the reason why it negotiated with "1 Euro (about 1375 Korean Won)" with a symbolic meaning as the initial contract payment to maintain friendly cooperative relations with international organizations such as CEPI and COVAX facility.
CEPI decided to continue using SK Bioscience's facilities with the public goal of securing equitable access to vaccines, such as supplying additional COVID-19 vaccines to the world through the COVAX facility. COVAX facility is currently planning to supply a total of two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine worldwide by the first quarter of next year.
SK Bioscience also plans to accelerate the development of its own COVID-19 vaccine, which is currently undergoing Phase 3 clinical trial in close cooperation with CEPI. The COVID-19 vaccine candidate GBP510, developed jointly by SK Bioscience and the University of Washington Institute for Protein Design (IPD) and using GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)'s pandemic immune enhancer technology, is currently undergoing Phase 3 clinical trial.
CEPI cooperated with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation from the initial development stage of GBP510, and provided a total of up to US$213.7 million (about 245 billion won) of development funds to SK Bioscience. GBP510 was also selected as the first target for the Wave2 (next-generation COVID-19 vaccine) project that CEPI launched last year to support better COVID-19 vaccine candidates. When commercialized, hundreds of millions of vaccines will be supplied to the world, including underdeveloped countries.
CEPI CEO Richard Hatchett said, "Even though 6.2 billion doses of vaccine have been released worldwide, the first vaccination rate in underdeveloped countries is only 2.3%. We must not stop addressing this inequality." He then said, "The additional facility use contract with SK provides an opportunity to approach COVAX's promise of protecting vulnerable populations through an equitable supply of vaccines, while further strengthening the relationship between CEPI and COVAX and the Republic of Korea to make contribution to control COVID-19."
Ahn Jae-yong, president of SK Bioscience, said, "The proven production system and technology demonstrated by global companies consigning COVID-19 vaccines led to the extension of the contract with CEPI. Next year, by securing and supplying its own COVID-19 vaccine, we will play a role as a true global vaccine supply hub."
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