[Photo by Yonhap]
South Korea’s biotech company Huons Global’s shares rallied early Friday on news that it will produce Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V under a CMO deal, making it the second Korean manufacturer of the Russian jab following Korus Pharm.
Huons Global, the holdings firm of Huons Group, announced on Friday its consortium of several Korean biotech and pharmaceutical companies signed a technology transfer agreement with Russian sovereign fund RDIF to produce vaccine products with a trial run in August this year.
Huons Global shares shot up to the daily limit of 30 percent to 51,800 won ($46.28) in morning trade Friday, while Huons shares soared 18.45 percent to 75,100 won. Its partners Prestige BioPharma and Humedix shares jumped 7.42 percent at 33,000 won and 27.09 percent to 34,950 won. The other partner Boran Pharma is not listed.
Another Korean biotech company Korus Pharm, which entered into a CMO agreement of Sputnik V in February, recently completed prototyping and started a quality review process in Russia before official shipment.
Huons Global said its consortium will build production capabilities to churn out 100 million doses per month, which could surpass 650 million doses per year committed by Korus Pharm.
But Sputnik V is not the vaccine the government referred on Thursday when it announced a Korean pharmaceutical company is to be commissioned to mass produce a coronavirus vaccine for a foreign company from August.
“What we mentioned yesterday was not about Sputnik V,” said Song Young-rae, senior health ministry official in a briefing on Friday, while denying to elaborate further until a contract is finalized.
More than 60 countries, including Russia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iran, Argentina, Algeria, and Hungary, have approved the use of Sputnik V, and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) also began review of the vaccine earlier this month.
Sputnik V, which can be safely stored at 2-8 degrees Celsius like ordinary vaccines, is the world`s first approved Covid-19 vaccine and phase 3 trial data published in medical journal The Lancet showed Sputnik V’s protection against infection was 91.6 percent.
By Kim Byung-ho and Minu Kim
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