The Korea Herald


SK Bioscience to supply Novavax’s new COVID-19 vaccine in Korea

By Shim Woo-hyun

Published : Nov. 29, 2023 - 17:44

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SK Bioscience's Andong L House in North Gyeongsang Province (SK Bioscience) SK Bioscience's Andong L House in North Gyeongsang Province (SK Bioscience)

SK Bioscience announced Wednesday that the company would supply Novavax's updated COVID-19 vaccine in South Korea, as part of the government’s winter vaccine program running early next year.

SK Bioscience's announcement was made after the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety of South Korea gave emergency use authorization for the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine earlier in the day.

The Korean government’s approval marks the third of its kind for Novavax’s protein-based updated COVID-19 vaccine addressing the omicron XBB variant, following prior approvals in the US and the European Union.

On Tuesday, Novavax's updated vaccine was also granted emergency use authorization by the World Health Organization for active immunization for individuals aged 12 and older.

Under an extended license agreement with Novavax, SK Bioscience has acquired exclusive commercialization rights to import and distribute the vaccine in Korea as part of the government's winter vaccine program.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency began its updated COVID-19 vaccination for all age groups this month, including individuals aged 12 to 64 and high-risk groups, such as children aged between 5 and 11 and younger children aged between 6 months and 4 years.

In Korea, the vaccine will be administered to individuals aged 12 and older.

“Novavax’s updated COVID-19 vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine based on a recombinant protein-based platform in the government’s recent vaccine program. This platform, which has been widely used in the development of many other vaccines, including influenza, hepatitis B and HPV, will add a safe administration option to the state-led vaccine program,” an official from SK Bioscience said.

The amount of Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine that SK Bioscience will supply here, as well as the value of the contract, however, have not been disclosed by the company.

“Through our valued partnership with SK Bioscience, we are proud to be able to offer the only protein-based non-mRNA COVID-19 vaccine option to the people of South Korea this vaccination season,” Novavax President and CEO John Jacob said.

“We are pleased to supply a vaccine that will contribute to national immunization, especially as flu and COVID-19 variants spread simultaneously ahead of the winter season,” SK Bioscience CEO Ahn Jae-yong said.