The National Institute of Health (NIH) said it has signed an agreement with CJ Healthcare to transfer the manufacturing technology of Enterovirus type 71, a hand-foot-and-mouth (HFMD) disease vaccine candidate, for 2.2 billion won ($2 million).
NIH is an affiliate of the Korean Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).
The disease is an enterovirus infection affecting mainly infants. The disease can cause rashes in the mouth, tongue, gums, inner mucous membrane of the cheek, and limbs. Other symptoms include fever, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, and neurological complications in some cases.
Currently, there are no commercialized vaccines and medicines available in Korea for treating the diseases.
Under the agreement, CJ Healthcare will be in charge of pre-clinical trials and animal test result. The company will also establish an enteral viral bank ahead of clinical trials.
The KCDC expects that the contract will contribute to the localization of the HFMD vaccine while contributing to becoming a nation of vaccine sovereignty. If the center succeeds in the vaccine development, it will help the reinvigoration of the domestic pharmaceutical industry.
“Our company expects that this contract will accelerate research on the commercialization of HFMD vaccine,” CJ Healthcare CEO Kang Seok-hee said. “We will do our best to help the nation secure vaccine sovereignty.”
The NIH also showed high expectations for the technology transfer.
“In addition to contributing to public health promotion such as the prevention of infectious diseases, the vaccine is also an up-and-coming field in the industry,” NIH Director Park Do-joon said. “The transfer of this technology is expected to become a cornerstone for vaccine localization.”