AstraZeneca said that it has inked a deal with SK Bioscience, an SK Chemical subsidiary, to designate the company as one of the global suppliers of its AZD1222, a Covid-19 vaccine candidate.
|From left, AstraZeneca Korea CEO Kim Sang-pyo, Minister of Health and Welfare Park Neung-hoo, and SK Bioscience CEO Ahn Jae-yong hold up the supply agreement between the two companies, at SK Bioscience's headquarters in Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province, on Tuesday.|
AZD1222, licensed out by Oxford University to AstraZeneca, is the first vaccine material to receive approval to conduct phase 3 clinical tests. The vaccine has also drawn much attention globally after WHO’s chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, identified the candidate as a front-runner in a global race to halt the Covid-19, on June 28.
Under the accord, SK Bioscience will participate in the Covid-19 vaccine production as one of AstraZeneca's global partners. The Ministry of Health and Welfare, which had arranged the negotiations between the two companies, will support the vaccine’s production and export.
As part of the agreement, AstraZeneca has begun to cooperate with the Ministry of Health and Welfare to discuss vaccines' introduction in Korea.
At the same time, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety will hold talks with AstraZeneca to bring the vaccine material into the country.
"We aim to establish the supply chain necessary to supply vaccine candidates worldwide rapidly, and SK Bioscience's cutting-edge technology and rapid mass-production capability are widely recognized worldwide." AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said.
As Korea is a leading country in managing the current pandemic situation, and the company will strengthen cooperation to provide broad and equitable access to all where the vaccines are needed, Soriot added.
SK Bioscience CEO Ahn Jae-yong said, "We are pleased to produce a Covid-19 vaccine that is touted as a leading candidate in a global race to halt a pandemic, based on our accumulated vaccine R&D technology and production capacity."
The company will cooperate with the government's policy of taking a two-track strategy of local development and imports to obtain a Covid-19 vaccine quickly, Ahn added.