Korea National Institute of Health (NIH), a research unit under the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KCDA), started visiting local companies to verify their mRNA vaccine technology.
The NIH said on Thursday that it picked Hanmi Fine Chemical, a subsidiary of Hanmi Pharmaceutical Group, as the first company for on-site inspection. Hanmi Fine Chemical recently announced that it has succeeded in synthesizing six key mRNA materials.
NIH Director Kwon Joon-woo and Infectious Disease Vaccine Research Head Kim Do-geun participated in the on-site verification, joined by Korea Biotechnology Industry Organization Chairman Lim Jong-yoon (CEO of Hanmi Science), Hanmi Pharmaceutical Senior Vice President Kim Soo-jin, Hanmi Fine Chemical CEO Chang Young-kil, Hanmi Fine Chemical Research Institute Director Lee Jae-heon, and Hanmi Pharmaceutical Global Regulatory Affairs Senior Managing Director Kwon Kyu-chan.
Korea National Institute of Health Director Kwon Joon-wook (center) inspects Hanmi Fine Chemical’s manufacturing process for mRNA vaccine materials in Siheung, Gyeonggi Province, on Thursday.
During the inspection, the NIH checked if the company could mass-produce six key materials for the mRNA vaccine, sources said.
NIH Director Kwon asked Hanmi Pharmaceutical Group to do its best to secure “national vaccine sovereignty” through continuous R&D.
During the inspection, Kwon of the NHI asked Lim whether Hanmi was the only company to produce the key material for the mRNA vaccine in Korea. In response, Lim said, “Yes. Monthly output can vary, but we can supply up to 300 million doses of materials within 12 months.”
NIH’s Infectious Disease Vaccine Research Head Kim Do-geun said he confirmed Hanmi Fine Chemical’s mRNA technology capabilities that the company has been pushing for since last year.
“I hope to see the possibility that a company and the government could find their roles and join efforts to develop a homegrown mRNA vaccine technology,” he said.
Also, Hanmi Science said it was preparing to bid for building a regional hub for worldwide vaccine supply, recently promoted by the WHO.
The move is part of the Korea-US Global Vaccine Partnership, agreed during a summit between Korean President Moon Jae-in and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden.
The partnership aims to build a mass production site for global vaccine supply through the WHO and COVAX Facility.
The WHO mentioned South Africa as the first candidate site for a vaccine hub on June 21.
“We will have to see how it will be concluded, but we’re noting that the WHO is seriously considering Korea’s potential as a global vaccine hub,” Lim said.
출처: Korea Biomedical Review
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