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SK Bioscience likely to secure vaccine supply deal from COVAX next year: report

SK Bioscience’s vaccine center in Andong (SK Bioscience)
SK Bioscience’s vaccine center in Andong (SK Bioscience)
SK Bioscience is expected to secure a large-size COVID-19 vaccine supply deal from the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility next year, a local brokerage firm said Wednesday.

The possible deal will boost earnings of the South Korean pharmaceutical company, it added.

GBP510, the firm’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, is a recombinant-protein vaccine funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which is leading the vaccine-sharing program COVAX Facility.

It is currently under phase 3 clinical trial in South Korea. The firm hopes to win marketing authorization next year.

If SK Bioscience wins regulatory approval, the company will be able to contribute to its sponsor‘s vaccine supply target, which falls short so far, according to Lee Dong-gun, an analyst at Shinhan Investment.

The COVAX Facility currently plans to distribute 2.66 billion doses of its COVID-19 vaccine by the first quarter of next year and 5.64 billion doses more by the end of 2022. But, the vaccine-sharing program has only supplied 240 million doses to date.

“SK Bioscience, which has already secured manufacturing facilities for COVID-19 vaccines, is highly likely to clinch a large-size COVID-19 vaccine supply deal from the COVAX Facility,” Lee said.

Since 2012, SK Bioscience has operated its vaccine production facility, dubbed L House, located in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province. During the pandemic the company has been using the facility to produce vaccines under contract development and manufacturing organization deals.

Meanwhile, Lee anticipated that sales of SK Bioscience in the second half of this year to surge by 203.7 percent on-year to reach 781.4 billion won ($655.4 million). Operating profit of the company could also reach 420.3 billion won, up 250.6 percent, Lee added.

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