EXCLUSIVE S.Korea in talks with mRNA vaccine makers to make up to 1 bln doses -govt official – Reuters

South Korean senior people get their first dosage of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at a vaccination centre in Seoul, South Korea April 1, 2021. Chung Sung-Jun/Pool through REUTERSSEOUL, July 5 (Reuters) – South Korea remains in talks with mRNA vaccine makers including Pfizer (PFE.N) and Moderna (MRNA.O) to produce COVID-19 shots in the nation and is all set to use the capacity to make up to 1 billion dosages instantly, a senior government official said.The strategy, if agreed, would help alleviate tight worldwide supply of COVID-19 vaccines, particularly in Asia which lags North America and Europe in vaccine rollouts, and put South Korea a step closer to its ambition to end up being a significant vaccine production centre.South Korea currently has deals to locally produce three coronavirus vaccines established by AstraZeneca (AZN.L)/ Oxford University, Novavax (NVAX.O), and Russia. It also has a vaccine bottling and product packaging handle Moderna.”Weve been holding frequent talks with big pharmaceutical companies to produce mRNA vaccines,” Lee Kang-ho, director general for the worldwide vaccine center committee under South Koreas health ministry, informed Reuters in an interview.”There are just a couple of mRNA vaccine designers – Pfizer, Moderna, CureVac and BioNTech. Therefore theres a limitation to just how much they can produce to satisfy worldwide need … South Korea is eager to help by providing its centers and experienced personnels,” Lee said.Its not instantly clear how innovative these talks are and whether and when a deal will be agreed.BioNTech (22UAy. DE) declined to comment, Moderna and CureVac (5CV. DE) did not respond to Reuters ask for comments.A Pfizer spokesperson said the business is making efforts to boost its COVID-19 vaccine supply chain however added “we do not have anything particular to announce at this time.”Lee decreased to name regional vaccine makers which have the capacity to produce mRNA vaccines instantly, but a government source said they consist of Hanmi Pharmaceuticals Co Ltd (128940. KS) and Quratis Co Ltd.Hanmi confirmed that it has a huge capacity booked for Sanofis (SASY.PA) diabetes drug and it can be used for COVID-19 vaccine production as the Sanofi task has actually stalled.”We happen to have this facility available right now due to the fact that our scientific trial (with Sanofi) was terminated in the middle of in 2015,” Kim Soo-jin, senior vice president of Hanmi, told Reuters.”Its very timely that we have a fully ready, GMP, advanced center available,” she said, referring to great production practice.Quratis, that makes a tuberculosis vaccine, said its new factory built in 2015 can now be utilized for mRNA vaccine production.Shares in Hanmi erased early losses and increased almost 4% on Monday after the Reuters report.COLLABORATION WITH WHOSouth Korea has stepped up its effort to produce more vaccines since U.S. President Joe Biden in May concurred with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on a comprehensive collaboration on COVID-19 vaccines. find out more Lee said his group is having frequent video teleconference with the vaccine makers and the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic informed Reuters the organisation is “talking with South Korea and other nations,” but did not elaborate.The WHO said last month it will establish a center in South Africa to manufacture mRNA vaccines within 9-12 months that will give business from bad and middle-income countries the know-how and licenses to produce COVID-19 vaccines. find out more Lee said mRNA vaccine makers may be reluctant to share their innovation, but they can benefit from South Koreas basic material suppliers to deal with a global shortage of such active ingredients as lipids, nucleotides and topping reagents.”Theyre capable of production and establishing such raw materials to help vaccine makers … and the South Korean government is devoted to offer all essential assistance consisting of monetary and administrative help.”Lee stated the nation also has a capacity for a minimum of another 500 million doses of fill-and-finish vaccines apart from the offer Moderna announced with Samsung BioLogics (207940. KS) in May.Reporting by Sangmi Cha in Seoul; Additional reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva, Michael Erman in New York and Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt; Editing by Miyoung Kim and Raju GopalakrishnanOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Chung Sung-Jun/Pool through REUTERSSEOUL, July 5 (Reuters) – South Korea is in talks with mRNA vaccine makers including Pfizer (PFE.N) and Moderna (MRNA.O) to produce COVID-19 shots in the country and is prepared to provide the capability to make up to 1 billion doses right away, a senior federal government official said.The plan, if agreed, would help ease tight worldwide supply of COVID-19 vaccines, especially in Asia which lags North America and Europe in vaccine rollouts, and put South Korea a step closer to its aspiration to end up being a significant vaccine manufacturing centre.South Korea already has offers to in your area produce 3 coronavirus vaccines developed by AstraZeneca (AZN.L)/ Oxford University, Novavax (NVAX.O), and Russia.”Its extremely timely that we have a totally all set, GMP, modern facility offered,” she stated, referring to excellent production practice.Quratis, which makes a tuberculosis vaccine, stated its new factory constructed last year can now be utilized for mRNA vaccine production.Shares in Hanmi removed early losses and rose nearly 4% on Monday after the Reuters report.COLLABORATION WITH WHOSouth Korea has actually stepped up its effort to produce more vaccines considering that U.S. President Joe Biden in May agreed with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on an extensive collaboration on COVID-19 vaccines. WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told Reuters the organisation is “talking with South Korea and other nations,” but did not elaborate.The WHO stated last month it will set up a center in South Africa to manufacture mRNA vaccines within 9-12 months that will give business from middle-income and bad nations the know-how and licenses to produce COVID-19 vaccines.