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The companies have expanded their existing partnership to include 40 Million Doses of COVID-19 vaccine for South Korea.
On Feb. 15, 2021, biotechnology company Novavax and SK Bioscience, a vaccine business subsidiary of SK Group, announced an expanded collaboration and license agreement for SK Bioscience to add significant production capacity for Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine, currently in Phase III clinical trials.
This new agreement follows an already existing manufacturing arrangement under which SK Bioscience obtained a license to manufacture and commercialize NVX-CoV2373, Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine, for sale to the Korean government. Novavax recently reported positive interim efficacy results for the vaccine candidate in an ongoing Phase III clinical trial in the United Kingdom and is also currently conducting a Phase III trial in the United States and Mexico.
The new agreement calls for technology transfer related to the manufacturing of Novavax’s protein antigen, supply of Matrix M adjuvant, and support to SK Bioscience as needed to secure regulatory approval. SK Bioscience has concurrently finalized an advance purchase agreement with the Korean government to supply 40 million doses of NVX-CoV2373 to the Republic of Korea beginning in 2021.
NVX-CoV2373 is a protein-based vaccine candidate engineered from the genetic sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. According to Novavax in a company press release, it was the first vaccine to demonstrate clinical efficacy against the original strain of COVID-19 and both of the rapidly emerging variants in the UK and South Africa. The product is shipped in a ready-to-use liquid formulation and is stable at 2 °C to 8 °C (refrigerated), which means that the existing vaccine supply chain channels can be used for its distribution.
“SK Bioscience shares our sense of urgency to deliver a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine to protect the global population, including the people of South Korea,” said Stanley C. Erck, president and CEO, Novavax, in the company press release. “We are proud to expand our partnership, which is another great milestone for both companies toward increasing the supply of NVX-CoV2373.”
“We are honored to continue to manufacture Novavax’[s] innovative COVID-19 vaccine and provide a supply to the Korean Government through this agreement,” said Jaeyong Ahn, CEO, SK Bioscience, in the press release. “We appreciate the collaboration of the Korean Government and Novavax to make possible this momentous step forward.”