Novavax focuses on variant-specific vaccines in expanded deal with South Korean manufacturer
The rollercoaster ride for Novavax’s Covid-19 vaccine has finally resulted in an emergency use authorization from the FDA. However, as the Omicron variant spreads, the company is turning to a Korean manufacturer to upgrade its capabilities.
The Maryland-based company inked agreements with SK bioscience for the manufacturing and supply of a version of its vaccine that’s specifically designed to protect against Omicron, Novavax announced on Tuesday. SK also committed to manufacturing Novavax’s vaccine in prefilled syringes, though the financial details were not disclosed.
The agreement builds on an existing deal that Novavax and SK struck back in 2021, according to the Korean news site The Korea Herald. SK already manufactures drugs substance for the current vaccine, but soon that will also cover a wide range of Covid-19 variants, including the Omicron BA.5 variant now dominant in the US, Novavax said.
“We are accelerating our clinical program evaluating an Omicron BA.5 component to our vaccine and look forward to continuing to work with SK bioscience as an important manufacturing partner,” Novavax CEO Stanley Erck said.
The Korea Herald reported that the companies’ deal for the supply of prefilled syringes is worth $29.8 million.
“SK bioscience will begin work to enable the manufacturing process for commercial supply of the vaccine in prefilled syringes in 2023,” Novavax said in a statement.
SK has the exclusive commercialization rights for the vaccine in South Korea, and the partners have joint rights in both Vietnam and Thailand.
SK has recently been looking to the US for more business. In January the company took a stake in the Pennsylvania-based Center for Breakthrough Medicines, investing $350 million of equity financing.