South Korean pharmaceuticals firm SK Bioscience is ramping up efforts to enhance cooperation with global health care officials, especially in the biopharmaceuticals field in the post-pandemic era.
According to the company on Monday, Jean Kaseya, director general of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, visited the Korean firm's headquarters on Friday to discuss collaborative measures supporting African countries in developing their own vaccines.
During the meeting, the two sought ways to collaborate on Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing, an initiative launched by the African Union in 2021 with the goal of producing and supplying over 60 percent of total vaccine doses locally by 2040.
SK Bioscience said it is increasingly teaming up with global entities to foray into overseas markets and contribute to global public health. One of the ongoing projects includes its “Glocalization Project,” which aims to transfer vaccine research, development and manufacturing capabilities to underdeveloped countries and to set up a vaccine infrastructure that adheres to the needs of each region.
In September, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic visited the SK Bioscience headquarters and signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a strategic partnership in vaccine development and manufacturing between Korea and Serbia.
As part of the new partnership, SK Bioscience and United Kingdom-based pharmaceutical company Frontier Biopharma agreed to sign a contract within the year to collaborate in establishing Serbian vaccine manufacturing facilities, with support from the Serbian government.
Through the memorandum, SK Bioscience said it will transfer technologies and know-how to Serbia to allow for preparation against potential pandemic outbreaks. The firm will also commercialize products, train human resources and support vaccine R&D in Serbia.
In return, the Serbian government will provide administrative support and supply necessary drug products to SK Bioscience, while Frontier Biopharma will be in charge of overall operation of the project.
The company said that top SK Group executives, including Chairman Chey Tae-won, have also taken the initiative to bolster ties with global entities.
In August 2022, the SK chief, together with SK Bioscience CEO Ahn Jae-yong, met with Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to discuss cooperation in ways to improve global public health.
SK Bioscience had already collaborated with the foundation to develop Korea's first COVID-19 vaccine SKYCovione in 2020. It secured an additional $2 million in funding for the development of a preclinical messenger RNA research platform at the end of 2021.
During the meeting, SK Bioscience, which had already collaborated with the foundation to develop Korea's first COVID-19 vaccine SKYCovione, secured an additional $2 million in funding for the development of a preclinical messenger RNA research platform.
In the meantime, the Korean firm has also inked a partnership agreement with Norway-based vaccine development foundation Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to develop mRNA vaccines. The company nurtures mRNA technology as one of its key platforms to promptly respond to the next pandemic.
"SK Bioscience plans to lead the global health industry by strengthening its network with international governments, research institutions and companies and to further achieve sustainable growth," said an SK Bioscience official.