LG Chem lands $12.6M grant for polio vaccines

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LG Chem lands $12.6M grant for polio vaccines

LG Chem, Korea’s largest chemical company, will receive a $12.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a polio vaccine, the company said Wednesday.

The money will be used to finance clinical trials abroad for a new polio vaccine that injects an inactive form of three polio viruses into the body. It will also be used to expand a vaccine production plant in Osong, North Chungcheong.

LG Chem has been developing the inactivated polio vaccine since 2014 and is now heading into the second phase of clinical tests.

The company believes it can apply for approval from the World Health Organization for use by UN humanitarian aid agencies by the first half of 2020 and commercially produce the vaccine by the second half.

The Gates Foundation has focused on supporting the development of injected polio vaccines as part of efforts to eradicate the disease because they are considered safer than vaccines consumed orally.

The funding marks a major milestone for LG Chem after it merged with LG Life Sciences to bolster its biopharmaceutical business last year.

The company bought LG Life Sciences for 336.9 billion won ($300 million).

At the time, LG Life Sciences expected funding for research and development in biological drugs would rise to a range of 300 to 500 billion won from the current 130 to 150 billion won.

“We will contribute to eradicating polio viruses worldwide by commercialize the polio vaccine as soon as possible,” said Son Jee-woong, executive vice president at the life sciences division at LG Chem.

“The support from the Gates Foundation will help us market the safe, effective vaccine that will be made available around the world.”

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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