SK Bioscience receives $10 million for vaccine development
SK Bioscience’s coronavirus vaccine candidate was selected to receive $10 million in funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the company said Wednesday.
CEPI is an international foundation that receives and distributes donations to ensure an equal worldwide distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.
Last month, the organization launched the “Wave 2” initiative to fund Covid-19 vaccine projects in the early stage of development with a $20 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
SK Bioscience’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate GBP510 is the first to be selected as part of the Wave 2 initiative. The $10 million funding promised to SK will be used for Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials, the company said.
As CEPI’s primary goal is to address the gaps in vaccine distribution, Wave 2 candidates are not chosen based on speed of development, but on whether they can help ensure Covid-19 vaccines are delivered to a diverse range of populations and settings. That includes vaccines that can be delivered at a lower price or in areas with poor logistical conditions.
Now that it has been selected, GBP510 will be supplied to the Covax Facility and distributed to more than 180 countries once development is complete. Launched by the World Health Organization, the Covax Facility is a global initiative of governments and manufacturers to ensure Covid-19 vaccines reach people in greatest need, regardless of nationality and location.
Documents to undergo Phase 1 clinical trials were submitted to Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety on Wednesday with the hopes to launch the tests within this year, SK Bioscience said.
SK Bioscience’s other Covid-19 vaccine candidate NBP2001 received a nod to launch clinical trials from the government body on Nov. 23. The vaccine arm under SK Group has platform technology to discover various types of vaccines by making small alternations, hence saving costs and time.
As a contract manufacturer, it is also partnered to mass-produce Covid-19 vaccines of U.S. bio pharmaceutical firm Novavax and British firm AstraZeneca.
“We’re making full use of our vaccine platform to discover more Covid-19 vaccine candidates and develop them,” said SK Bioscience CEO Ahn Jae-yong. “Our goal is to develop a Covid-19 vaccine of ensured safety and efficacy.”
BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [email@example.com]