Korean Covid-19 vaccine makers under spotlight after setbacks in foreign vaccine rollout

2021.04.14 09:36:50 | 2021.04.14 10:12:09

[Graphics by Song Ji-yoon]이미지 확대

[Graphics by Song Ji-yoon]

Shares of South Korean coronavirus vaccine developers have gained momentum after the government vowed to inject about 69 billion won ($6.1 million) to accelerate local vaccine development amid a delay in supply of foreign vaccines.

On Tuesday, shares of five South Korean biotech companies soared on news that they are pushing for phase 3 clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccines in the second half of this year with support from the government.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare said during a meeting convened by President Moon Jae-in that the local vaccine developers would get combined 68.7 billion won aid from the government for the clinical trials of their Covid-19 vaccines.

The government will also help establish and use correlates of protective immunity required to serve as benchmarks in vaccine evaluation to speed up the trials. Clinical study outcomes can be based on a well-defined immunological correlate of protection (ICP) and this will contribute to saving time and money related to patient enrollment in large-scale phase 3 trials.

Following the announcement, shares of GeneOne Life Science gained 29.97 percent to close at 4,300 won ($3.82). Shares of Cellid, EuBiologics, Genexine and SK Bioscience were also strong.

Of these stocks, GeneOne Life Science maintained its strong note through the morning session of Wednesday, with a 6.7 percent gain as of 10:00 am.

[Photo by Yonhap]이미지 확대

[Photo by Yonhap]

The government’s emergency financial support for the local vaccine developers comes after Korea has been grappling with a delay in rollout of foreign vaccines. AstraZeneca’s vaccine is embroiled in a blood clot controversy, while Novavax’s jab has not been approved by the European Medicines Agency or U.S. FDA.

Korea signed a deal to received 1.66 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine in May through the World Health Organization’s global vaccine project the COVAX Facility and additional 7 million doses between May and June. It also agreed to buy 40 million doses of Novavax vaccines, enough to inoculate 20 million people.

By Pulse

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