SK Bioscience will invest a total of 325.7 billion won ($258 million) for the relocation of its research and production base to Songdo, Incheon, according to the company on Thursday. The new complex will have new R&D and production facilities as well as the company's new headquarters.
The Songdo Global Research & Process Development Center will be built on a plot of land measuring 30,413.8 square meters, which the company purchased for 41.9 billion won.
When the construction is completed during the first half of 2025, the company's headquarters building and R&D centers that are currently located in Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province, will be relocated to Songdo.
SK Bioscience said the new complex will include facilities needed for both R&D and commercial manufacturing.
SK Bioscience said it will secure biological safety level 3 laboratories at the Songdo base to strengthen its vaccine pipeline. BSL is a rating standard for biological facilities, used to help measure the safety of the lab environment when working with potentially hazardous microbes.
SK Bioscience also plans to install a pilot plant at the Songdo base. The company aims to utilize the cGMP-level production facility for its contract manufacturing business. The plant will also be used for cell and gene therapy, mRNA and viral vectors research.
SK Bioscience, the developer of the nation's first COVID-19 vaccine, called SKYCovione, also aims to further expand its footing in the global vaccine industry through an open innovation lab within the complex.
While bolstering ties with global vaccine organizations and biopharmaceutical companies, the company will also carry out "glocalization" projects that transfer its R&D and production capabilities to countries with a lack of infrastructure.
“The establishment of the R&PD Center will be a crucial milestone for us to advance the entire vaccine and biopharmaceutical industry beyond Korea to the world,” said, SK bioscience CEO Ahn Jae-yong. “We will ultimately organize the ‘Dream Team’ of the global health network to protect a safe tomorrow for people around the world.”