[Photo by Yonhap]
South Korean President Moon Jae-in is expediting bids to turn the country into a global vaccine hub attracting $52.5 million investment from a U.S. vaccine material producer and striking a series of vaccine deals with global firms and institutions during his five-day trip to New York for the United Nations General Assembly.
Moon attended a ceremony to sign a vaccine cooperation accord between South Korea and the U.S. on Tuesday (local time), joined by relevant business leaders from both sides, according to Cheong Wa Dae.
The event held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly is a follow-up to the White House summit with President Joe Biden in late May to establish a comprehensive KORUS Global Vaccine Partnership in a bid to speed up the production and global supply of Covid-19 vaccines.
During the ceremony, U.S. vaccine material maker Cytiva pledged to invest 52.5 million in Korea from 2022 to 2024 to build its Asian production site in the country where the U.S. firm will produce disposable cell culture fluid, the material essential for vaccine production which is currently in short supply worldwide.
This is the first investment for a manufacturing facility in Korea from a global vaccine company.
Korea and the U.S. also signed eight memorandums of understanding between their companies.
Local biopharmaceutical company EuBiologics has vowed to supply adjuvants, an essential ingredient for developing vaccine candidates, to U.S.-based Adjuvance Technologies and Eyegene has struck a deal with TriLink BioTechnologies to introduce the U.S. company’s capping reagents, the material used for mRNA vaccine candidates. PharmGen Science has signed a joint agreement with Access Bio and IVY Pharma to develop mRNA vaccine.
Earlier in the day, Moon met with Albert Bourla, the head of Pfizer Inc. to call for early supply of additional Covid-19 vaccines for next year. Last month, Korea signed a deal with the American drug maker to purchase 30 million additional doses in 2022.
On Wednesday, Moon held a bilateral summit talks with Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, during which South Korea has committed to provide one million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Vietnam next month to bolster cooperation as strategic partners between the two countries.
This is the country’s first direct vaccine support to a foreign nation. Korea has only provided financial support so far, pledging $200 million to the Gavi COVAX Advance Commitment, the vaccine alliance funding immunization programs in developing countries.
Moon requested support from the Vietnamese authorities for Phase 3 clinical trials currently conducted by Korean companies in Vietnam.
By Lim Sung-hyun and Lee Soo-min
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]