SK receives $173 million to fund Covid-19 vaccine trials

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SK receives $173 million to fund Covid-19 vaccine trials

A SK Bioscience researcher is conducting tests to develop a Covid-19 vaccine. [SK BIOSCIENCE]

A SK Bioscience researcher is conducting tests to develop a Covid-19 vaccine. [SK BIOSCIENCE]

 
SK Bioscience has been granted $173.4 million from the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) as funding for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate GBP510, the company said Monday.  
 
Co-developed with the University of Washington’s Institute for Protein Design, GBP510 is currently under Phase 2 clinical trials. The funding will be used to conduct Phase 3 clinical trials in multiple countries and develop mass production methods and technology for Covid-19 variants.
 
CEPI is an international foundation that promotes equal worldwide distribution of pandemic vaccines. In December, the organization selected SK’s GBP510 as the first recipient of its “Wave 2” initiative.
 
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.
 
Since last year, CEPI has financed GBP510’s Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials, as well as R&D efforts to use SK Bioscience’s vaccine technology to fight Covid-19 mutations.
 
Including funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation last year, the Korean company has received $210.1 million so far to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.
 
“The wholehearted support of CEPI and [the] Gates Foundation reflects the technological level and potential value of our vaccine candidate,” said Ahn Jae-yong, CEO of SK Bioscience, in a statement.
 
“To achieve the goal against the pandemic, we will continue our highest efforts for the successful development and enlarged access to the Covid-19 vaccine that can also be preventive to variants utilizing our expanded manufacturing capabilities.”
 
SK Bioscience plans to submit documents to Korean drug regulators to enter Phase 3 clinical trials in the first half of this year. The tests will take place across multiple countries, the country said. The goal is to receive full approval for distribution during the first half of 2022. 
 
Once fully approved, GBP510 will supplied to under-developed regions in Africa, North America and Southeast Asia.
 
BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]
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