[Photo by Yonhap]
Genexine Inc., the only Korean company in human clinical testing of a Covid-19 vaccine, is expected to apply for approval of its vaccine, which could be more effective and affordable than those by Pfizer and other global peers, in the second half of next year, the company’s chairman Sung Young-chul said.
In an interview with Maeil Business Newspaper on Wednesday, Sung said the company’s Covid-19 vaccine development remains on track and an application for marketing authorization is expected to be submitted in September, 2021.
It expects to obtain full data from a Phase 1 trial of its DNA vaccine GX-19 late this year or early next year, while starting a Phase 2a study within this year and concurrent Phase 2b and 3 trials in the first half of next year.
Phase 3 trials are expected to take place outside Korea to ensure a large enough number of subjects that would reach at least 10,000.
Sung is confident about the planned market launch of Korea’s first Covid-19 vaccine next year, but his assurance is not enough to prevent its stock from plunging on the news that its bigger rival multinational drug company Pfizer already obtained positive interim results from a coronavirus vaccine Phase 3 trial on Tuesday.
Investors are worried about the risk of potential market dominance by Pfizer and other global peers ahead of Genexine. However, Sung denied any negative impact from Pfizer’s progress on its current vaccine development, adding that market demand for Covid-19 vaccines will remain so big that it cannot be covered by vaccines from only a few companies.
“The government will bring in vaccines developed by global companies and start vaccination for the elderly and other risk groups from the beginning of next year, but our vaccine will also be used from the second half of next year because all local demands cannot be met by overseas vaccines,” he said.
While admitting that Genexine cannot overtake global vaccine developers, Sung said Genexine’s Covid-19 vaccine will hit the market under ‘Best Vaccine’ strategy where it will be longer-acting and more affordable than rival vaccines.
Since even a finished vaccine may have safety, durability and price issues, there will always be market demand for a better and affordable vaccine although the market launch is late, Sung said.
By Kim Byung-ho and Minu Kim
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]