SK Bioscience gets $14 million for vaccine development

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SK Bioscience gets $14 million for vaccine development

SK Bioscience researchers confirm Covid-19 vaccines produced at the company's factory in Andong, North Gyeongsang. [SK BIOSCIENCE]

SK Bioscience researchers confirm Covid-19 vaccines produced at the company's factory in Andong, North Gyeongsang. [SK BIOSCIENCE]

SK Bioscience was offered $14.2 million by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to develop a vaccine against coronavirus mutations, the Korean company said Thursday.
 
The new vaccine would use the same “platform technology” behind GBP510, SK Bioscience’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate that’s currently undergoing Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials. In vaccine development, platform technology is a tool that can create new vaccines by altering specific components of existing vaccines already approved safe and effective.  
 
CEPI additionally granted $12.5 million to SK to boost facilities for GBP510’s mass production. An international foundation that promotes equal worldwide distribution of pandemic vaccines, CEPI had selected SK’s GBP510 as the first recipient of its “Wave 2” initiative in December.  
 
Including funds from the Bill & Melina Gates Foundation last year, GBP510 alone has attracted a total of $40.3 million so far, according to SK Bioscience.  
 
As opposed to the Wave 1 initiative that prioritizes development speed, Wave 2’s focus is on Covid-19 vaccines that can be delivered to less developed countries at lower prices and utilize easier logistics.  
 
Once it’s complete, some of SK Bioscience’s GBP510 vaccines will be given to the Covax Facility so that it can be supplied to underdeveloped countries. The bio firm has distribution rights for the remainder.  
 
“The latest CEPI support will help us create a vaccine that can fight coronavirus mutations like the one found in South Africa,” said SK Bioscience in a Thursday statement.  
 
Once it finds a vaccine candidate effective against mutations, SK Bioscience will embark on studies to develop booster vaccines and polyvalent vaccines, which would cover more than two types of virus strains.
 
BY SONG KYOUNG-SON  [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]
 
 
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