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SK Bioscience taps ASEAN vaccine market with Thai drug firm

July 5, 2023 - 15:58 By Yu Ji-soo
(SK Bioscience)

SK Bioscience said Wednesday it has signed a business agreement with a state-owned pharmaceutical company in Thailand to boost vaccine production and vaccine development infrastructure in the Southeast Asian country.

Under the agreement, SK Bioscience and Thailand's Government Pharmaceutical Organization will cooperate in the long term to strengthen Thailand’s response system against new pandemics and localize the country’s vaccine manufacturing capabilities. These efforts will later on expand to the broader Southeast Asian region.

To achieve this, SK Bioscience plans to first transfer the production technology of its cell culture-based influenza vaccine, SkyCellflu, to Thailand for local manufacturing.

GPO will manufacture finished products after receiving an undiluted solution of SkyCellflu from SK Bioscience. The Thai firm plans to earn local regulatory approvals in Thailand to be used in the national vaccination program.

"The synergy created by SK Bioscience's technological capabilities, GPO's local infrastructure and the institutional support of both countries' health authorities will be recognized as a successful case of global partnership,” SK Bioscience CEO Ahn Jae-yong said.

GPO was established by the Thai government to produce pharmaceuticals and supply them to Thailand. In particular, Thai public hospitals must use at least 60 percent of GPO products, including pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

This agreement is the first achievement of SK Bioscience's project called "Glocalization," which aims to transfer research and development and production capabilities to countries with insufficient vaccine infrastructure.

"Through collaboration with SK Bioscience, GPO will receive vaccine production technology and significantly enhance the vaccine infrastructure in Thailand,” said Mingkwan Suphannaphong, CEO of GPO.