Genexine founder and chief executive Sung Young-chul will step down from his post to become a project leader dedicated to the development of the company’s investigational vaccines to fight Covid-19 and other viruses.
Sung will leave business to professional managers and, as a scientist, will strive to secure a vaccine platform and source technology to prepare for new infectious diseases that will come again in the future, he told Yonhap News Agency on Wednesday. He will remain in office until a new CEO is nominated on Sept. 14.
His priority is to complete the current development of Genexine’s Covid-19 DNA vaccine `GX-19N`. The vaccine candidate was recently approved for Phase 2/3 clinical trials in Indonesia, making it the first home grown coronavirus vaccine approved for the late-stage commercial development.
Currently, there are no commercially available DNA vaccines worldwide.
Genexine will form an industry-academic-research consortium to focus on the development of genetic vaccines based on various platforms such as DNA, RNA, and adenovirus., said Sung, adding that he will serve as a coordinator to converge technologies and create synergy within the scientific community.
His decision is based on the judgment that he is the right person for developer role as he has accumulated experience for a long time as a Postech professor and founder of a first-generation biotech venture in Korea. Sung wants to play a role to bridge between academia and industry to create an R&D base that can better respond to new infectious diseases. Genexine will pursue C&D (Connect & Development) beyond R&D, and such attempts will contribute to corporate value and national competitiveness, Sung said.
Since Covid-19 will keep creating variants, and other infectious diseases will inevitably come again after this pandemic is over, Korea must secure vaccine sovereignty in preparation for another pandemic, he emphasized.
Genexine shares were trading 0.44 percent lower at 89,700 won ($78.01) as of 12:06 p.m. on Wednesday.
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