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S. Korea‘s mRNA vaccine consortium gets two new members

A laboratory technician holds a vial of a COVID-19 vaccine (AFP-Yonhap)
A laboratory technician holds a vial of a COVID-19 vaccine (AFP-Yonhap)

Two more local companies have newly joined the “K-mRNA vaccine consortium,” a local alliance of pharmaceutical companies dedicated to co-developing and co-producing homegrown messenger RNA vaccines.

The consortium, led by Hanmi Pharmaceutical, GC Pharma and ST Pharm, on Thursday announced the participation of pharmaceuticals company Dong-A ST and medical equipment and materials maker Ecell, which it said will speed up its joint research and development of COVID-19 vaccines.

Dong-A ST is expected to help the consortium in preparing for investigational new drug applications with clinical studies and possibly patent registrations.

Ecell, which makes equipment for cell culture and bioprocessing products, will help the consortium secure equipment and supplies, the group said.

The vaccine alliance, forged in June this year, could invite more members if needed in order to move up the commercialization date of mRNA vaccines, it added.

The consortium currently aims to start the phase 1 clinical study of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate STP2104 within this year and commercialize the vaccine by the first half of next year.

The consortium said it has been holding monthly meetings with the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety here to discuss measures to accelerate the clinical trial stage.

Meanwhile, the vaccine consortium plans to secure manufacturing facilities capable of producing 100 million doses of a homegrown messenger RNA vaccine.

The consortium added ST Pharm’s other mRNA vaccine candidate STP2130 is undergoing preclinical studies to determine its efficacy against COVID-19 variants.

By Shim Woo-hyun (ws@heraldcorp.com)
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