[Photo provided by LG Chem]
South Korea’s leading chemical and pharmaceutical firm LG Chem said on Monday it has received a $33.4 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a 6-in-1 combination vaccine for simultaneous protection against six diseases - diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, Hib disease and hepatitis B.
This is a second grant from the foundation to the company after a $195 million contribution for polio vaccine development in 2017.
LG Chem will use the donation to back clinical trials of the vaccine which is under phase II study. It plans to bid for international contracts of the vaccine through World Health Organization’s Pre-Qualification certification it hopes to obtain by 2023. Currently, there are no vaccine products on the market that have received the WHO certification.
The combo vaccine is expected to increase patient adherence with a single injection, contributing greatly to protecting babies from various childhood diseases.
The WHO makes prequalification evaluation on the quality, safety, efficacy and safety control of vaccine medicinal products before use and supply to developing countries, and the approval indicates the vaccine meets international standards for purchase by U.N. agencies.
With the approval, the developer is eligible to participate in the international relief tender organized by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/WHO and UNICEF.
LG Chem’s polio vaccine is currently under phase 3 clinical trials and is set to go commercial in 2021.
By Kang Doo-soon and Minu Kim
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