[Graphics by Song Ji-yoon]
South Korean vaccine developers and contract manufacturer stocks received further traction upon the government’s ambitious roadmap to become a vaccine and virus cure powerhouse.
President Moon Jae-in announced Thursday that the government will invest 2.2 trillion won ($1.9 billion) over the next five years into the vaccine industry, with a goal of becoming one of the top five vaccine producers.
The announcement was made during an inaugural meeting of a joint committee comprising representatives from governmental bodies, pharmaceutical, and medical communities to develop a roadmap to realize the goal. The President, instead of Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum, convened the first meeting to show the administration’s strong will to achieve the goal and address the spread of the coronavirus amid continuous emergence of new variants, according to the presidential office.
On the same day, the government separately announced Samsung Biologics is rolling out the first prototype of Moderna vaccine this month.
Samsung Biologics and SK Bioscience surged upon the news. On Friday, Samsung Biologics gained 0.77 percent to end at 919,000 won ($804.02) on profit-taking, while SK Bioscience jumped 17.55 percent to close at 244,500 won.
Strong second-quarter results and positive outlook of bio majors have been feeding their shares.
Samsung Biologics beat market consensus with an operating profit of 166.8 billion won in the second quarter, up 105.6 percent from a year ago. Sales grew 34 percent on year to 412.2 billion won.
SK Bioscience swung to an operating profit of 66.2 billion won with sales surging 277.2 percent to 144.6 billion won.
Under the roadmap, Korea will churn out its first homemade Covid-19 vaccine in the first half.
The government will provide support to ensure speedy local vaccine development, expand partnerships with other countries, and establish a global vaccine hub base.
Samsung Biologics is planning to kick off pilot production of Moderna’s mRNA vaccine from the end of August, Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol said during a press briefing.
Samsung Biologics signed a contract manufacturing agreement with the U.S. vaccine developer in May. Experts say it would take more time before the full commercial use of this vaccine in Korea and elsewhere due to a validation test.
By Kang Bong-jin and Minu Kim
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]