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Moderna could produce mRNA vaccine substance in South Korea: report

Test tubes are seen in front of a displayed Moderna logo. (Reuters-Yonhap)
Test tubes are seen in front of a displayed Moderna logo. (Reuters-Yonhap)

US pharmaceutical company Moderna may produce the drug substance for its messenger RNA-based COVID-19 vaccine in South Korea, a local media outlet reported Monday.

The company is reviewing options for the vaccine substance production here, including building its own production facility in Korea and partnering with a local firm, the report said, quoting Corrine Le Goff, Moderna’s chief commercial officer. The executive did not provide further details.

The US-based pioneer in mRNA technology is currently hiring staff to establish a business presence here. It has a production partnership with Samsung Biologics, one of the world’s largest contract manufacturers of drugs, under which the Korean firm will handle the fill-finish process of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Samsung Biologics is considered a potential candidate here for Moderna’s vaccine substance production plan. The company announced last week that it plans to add an mRNA vaccine production line at its drug manufacturing complex in Songdo, Incheon, by the first half of next year.

The vaccine substance for the Moderna vaccine is currently provided only by Moderna and its main production partner, the Swiss-headquartered Lonza.

Meanwhile, Moderna will speed up launching its regional office in Korea, according to Le Goff.

Le Goff said the ongoing recruitment process that began last month will soon be completed, and the company aims to launch its Asian regional office in Korea within this year. Moderna has finished the legal process required for company registration with the Seoul Central District Court as of May 17.

By Shim Woo-hyun (