SOUTH KOREA – Samsung Biologics, a major South Korean contract drug manufacturer, has rolled out supplies of the first batch of domestically-made Moderna vaccines.
Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, manufactured by Samsung Biologics, will be distributed both domestically and internationally, allowing Korea to cement its position as a global COVID-19 vaccine hub.
Accordingly, Samsung Biologics will initially supply vaccines in Korea before gradually increasing monthly production to meet global demand.
In May, Samsung Group’s biotech unit signed a contract with Moderna to provide contract manufacturing organization services for the American biotech company’s mRNA vaccine at its plant in Songdo, Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul.
The first batch of 2.43 million Moderna vaccine doses to be manufactured at Samsung Biologics’ third plant in Songdo will be used to administer both first and second shots, as well as booster shots, in the fourth quarter.
South Korean government has agreed to purchase 40 million Moderna vaccine doses for inoculating its citizens. The indigenously-produced vaccine has been approved for emergency use by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.
It is the second time that COVID-19 vaccines made in South Korea have been used to immunize South Koreans. Samsung Biologics has also completed preparations for shipping vaccines.
Meanwhile, SK Bioscience has signed a contract to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines with British-Swedish pharmaceutical conglomerate AstraZeneca and Oxford University, and Novavax.
SK Bioscience’s AZ vaccines are already being distributed both domestically and internationally. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has signed a production contract for Sputnik V with the Hankook Korus consortium and the Huons Global consortium.
So far, approximately 40.97 million people, or 79.8 percent of the country’s 52-million population, had received their first COVID-19 vaccine shots. The total number of people who had received all of their vaccinations is 36.97 million, or 72 percent.
The Janssen vaccines are likely to be produced in Korea in addition to the four COVID-19 vaccines signed by the contract.
GC Green Cross is currently negotiating the deal with Janssen, and Janssen officials visited GC Green Cross’s Ochang plant in North Chungcheong Province last month to conduct due diligence.