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SK Bioscience to develop vaccine for COVID-19 variants

SK Bioscience’s vaccine manufacturing plant in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province (SK Bioscience)
SK Bioscience’s vaccine manufacturing plant in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province (SK Bioscience)

SK Bioscience will develop an all-in-one vaccine targeting COVID-19 variants, together with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, the South Korean firm said Thursday.

SK Bioscience would receive funding from CEPI, worth up to $14.2 million, for the research and development. The South Korean vaccine developer could receive additional funds of as much as $12.5 million for building manufacturing facilities.

For the new vaccine, the company hopes to build on its experience with nanoparticle platform for GBP510, a recombinant protein vaccine candidate that the company developed in 2020 with the University of Washington’s Institute of Protein Design.

To date, SK Bioscience has garnered a total of $40.3 million for GBP510 from CEPI and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, according to SK Bioscience.

“I am pleased to announce another collaboration with CEPI to develop a vaccine for the COVID-19 variant,” said SK Bioscience CEO Ahn Jae-yong. “The company expects swift development of the vaccine through leveraging the existing COVID-19 vaccine platform for GBP 510,” Ahn added.

SK Bioscience also said that the company would continue its discussion with CEPI on phase three clinical study and commercialization of GBP510.

In May, SK Bioscience received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In December, CEPI selected GBP510 as a candidate for its vaccine development project, “Wave2.”

If GBP510 development is proven to be safe and effective, SK Bioscience will supply the vaccine worldwide through COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility, the global vaccine-sharing scheme led by international bodies, including CEPI, the global vaccine alliance GAVI, and the World Health Organization.

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