SK Bioscience’s Skypheumo, a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) approval, has failed to break the patent barriers of multinational pharmaceutical companies.
The treatment, approved for sales in 2016, is the first PVC developed and approved in Korea. The vaccine quickly gained attention as it was a locally produced vaccine that appeared in the PCV market, dominated by multinational pharmaceutical companies.
However, due to patent problems with Prevenar 13, which accounts for 80 percent of the PCV market, it is on the verge of disappearing even before it reaches the market.
According to industry sources, SK Bioscience, formerly known as SK Chemicals, has lost the patent suit filed by Pfizer Korea in December as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Pfizer.
SK Bioscience had filed a lawsuit against Pfizer for patent invalidation of the composition of Prevenar 13 in 2013 and lost both the initial and second trials. With the final ruling, SK Bioscience cannot sell Skypheumo until 2026 when Pfizer's composition patent for Prevenar 13 expires.
SK Bioscience plans to accelerate the development of the next-generation PCV, as the company believes the chances are low to start marketing Skypheumo.
“We respect the Supreme Court’s ruling,” an SK Bioscience official told the Yonhap News Agency. “The company plans to concentrate more on developing next-generation PCV, which is being jointly developed with Sanofi.”
SK Bioscience and Sanofi Pasteur are conducting Phase 1 clinical trials for the next generation of PCV in the U.S.