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SK Bioscience secures $31m chickenpox vaccine deal with Pan-America

SK Bioscience to supply Sky Varicella in Central, South America

An Image of SK Bioscience’s Sky Varicella (SK Bioscience)
An Image of SK Bioscience’s Sky Varicella (SK Bioscience)
SK Bioscience has signed a $31 million (37 billion won) order to ship out its chickenpox vaccine Sky Varicella to the Pan American Health Organization, the company said Monday.

The PAHO, along with the UNICEF, has one of the largest demand for vaccines in the world as it is responsible for supplying mass-scale vaccines on behalf of countries in the central and southern American regions. According to SK Bioscience, the order marked the first time the company succeeded in winning a bid with PAHO.

In order to take part in a bidding organized by the PAHO, an international body under the United Nations, applicants are required to have obtained the World Health Organization’s Pre-Qualification certification. SK Bioscience’s Sky Varicella became the second chickenpox vaccine in the world to obtain the WHO’s PQ certification in November 2019.

With the latest overseas order, SK Bioscience’s list of clients for its chickenpox vaccine is extended further, as it has already been shipped out to Thailand and Turkey.

The biopharmaceutical company said it will also look to export more vaccines to the global market and expand to other businesses.

SK Bioscience’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate GBP510, currently in the global phase 3 clinical trial, is expected to obtain South Korean regulatory approval and the WHO’s PQ certification in the first half of this year, according to the company. GBP510 will be distributed across the world through the WHO’s COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility after it receives emergency use approvals in other countries, it added.

SK Bioscience said it will secure the core technology of messenger RNA by signing licenses with other firms, and speed up its own development for mRNA platforms to come up with not only vaccines, but also treatments.

The company is also considering acquiring stakes in overseas companies as well as establishing joint ventures with the aim of securing footholds in countries that are more likely to generate profits, it added.

“The PAHO bid order is a meaningful achievement that proved the global market competitiveness of vaccines developed by us,” said Ahn Jae-yong, CEO of SK Bioscience.

“As SK Bioscience‘s technology is recognized overseas, we will push for various global businesses based on our technology and grow into a company that leads the world vaccine market.”

By Kan Hyeong-woo (hwkan@heraldcorp.com)
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