Samsung Biologics to make Moderna vaccine in Korea

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Samsung Biologics to make Moderna vaccine in Korea

President Moon Jae-in, center, and top executives of Korean and U.S. pharmaceutical firms attend a vaccine partnership event in Washington on Saturday.  [YONHAP]

President Moon Jae-in, center, and top executives of Korean and U.S. pharmaceutical firms attend a vaccine partnership event in Washington on Saturday. [YONHAP]

SEOUL, WASHINGTON -- Samsung Biologics signed a deal with Moderna Saturday to manufacture the U.S. pharmaceutical company's Covid-19 vaccines in Korea.  
 
A series of agreements was announced by the Korean government Saturday at a meeting in Washington to mark a Korea-U.S. partnership on vaccines. President Moon Jae-in attended the meeting as well as executives of Korean and U.S. pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
 
One agreement will allow Samsung Biologics, the biotech arm of Samsung Group, to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines in its production plant using Moderna's raw materials produced outside Korea.  
 
Korea is expected to get speedy Moderna vaccine supplies as a result, the Blue House said in a press release.  
 
Korea approved Moderna's vaccine on Friday. It was the fourth Covid-19 vaccine to be approved, following products developed by AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.  
 
Domestic manufacturing of Moderna vaccines will also help Korea to become a global vaccine hub as Moon has promised. At a White House summit on Friday, Moon and U.S. President Joe Biden agreed to a plan through which the United States would offer technology for Korea to make vaccines.  
 
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was also signed among the Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, its Ministry of Health and Welfare and Moderna to address the U.S. pharmaceutical company's investment and manufacturing plans in Korea.  
 
According to the MOU, Modern agreed to invest in an mRNA vaccine production facility in Korea and hire workers.
Moderna and Pfizer are producers of mRNA vaccines – a more sophisticated technology that only the United States is using.  
 
SK Bioscience produces AstraZeneca vaccines in Korea, although it is a viral vector vaccine, not mRNA. The company will also begin manufacturing Novavax viral vector Covid-19 vaccines as early as June. Huons Global is a manufacturer of Russia's Sputnik V.  
 
Another MOU was signed between the Korea National Institute of Health and Moderna on research cooperation on infectious diseases.  
 
The Ministry of Health, SK Bioscience and Novavax signed an MOU on development and production of vaccines including Covid-19 vaccines. The Korean and U.S. biotechnology firms will work to develop next-generation vaccines.  
  
BY SER MYO-JA, JOINT PRESS CORPS   [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]
 
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