SK Vasa plan to halt production amid surge in flu vaccine demand?

[FETV=박제성 기자] Although SK Bioscience has successfully supplied the first domestic coronavirus treatment to Korea, it has decided to temporarily suspend production of its flagship flu vaccine, citing the background. SK Bioscience’s decision raises curiosity as it was made in the process of anticipating a surge in demand for flu vaccines, such as the publication of a pandemic flu (flu) advisory by the health authorities. Meanwhile, SK Bioscience’s flu vaccine (SK Vasa) is a representative medicine for promoting human health.

According to related industries on the 23rd, SK Vasa gave up the only cell-cultured flu vaccine in Korea for two consecutive years, and the timing of the recent flu epidemic is contradictory. Initially, the government could use a domestic vaccine if possible, but missed the timing with SK Vasa and secured Flucellbox from Securus, an Australian pharmaceutical company.

Before the flu warning started, SK Vasa focused on the production of its own Skycobi One coronavirus vaccine, including an overseas CDMO (research production and development shipment) for the production of the coronavirus vaccine. As a result, the pharmaceutical industry is raising a question mark as to whether SK Basa should review the production of flu vaccine again.

However, there are also interpretations that are not right for SK Basa because the flu epidemic remains a temporary phenomenon rather than a prolonged one like the corona virus. Health authorities have also reached out to foreign countries. Securus is the only cell-cultured flu vaccine approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

SK Vasa also seems to be taking a step back. However, it is actively considering producing a flu vaccine in 2023. Until 2020, SK Vasa maintained the No. 1 position in flu vaccines. While production was stopped for a time, GC Green Cross dug a hole and maintained its No.

Representative major flu vaccines include tetravalent Skycellflu (two types of influenza A and two types of influenza B), pre-filled syringe (injectable buffered form), Skycellflu-filled syringe, and Skyzoster (herpes virus vaccine zoster) is there. SK vasa recently decided to release Sky Cell Flu 4 pre-filled 4-valent syringe (Sky Cell Flu) next year.

◆“Which came first the chicken or the egg?” SK basa production priority concerns = Recently, SK basa is very worried. The reason is that the production of Sky Cellflu in the bio pharmaceutical industry, the only cell-cultured flu vaccine in Korea, has been suspended for two consecutive years. Until the development of Corona, SK VASA is like a treasure to be treasured.

Previously, in 2015, SK basa’s self-developed and manufactured trivalent influenza vaccine, Sky Cellflu, was introduced to the market for the first time. In 2016, once again, the world’s first cell culture quadrivalent, SkyCellflu Quadrivalent, was launched. Cell culture plays a role in fighting the flu virus by growing flu vaccine-related cells under controlled conditions.

Earlier, SK Vasa CEO Ahn Jae-yong said in a press conference to commemorate the 1st anniversary of the IPO held in March this year, “In the situation where the vaccine production line was limited (at the time) , the corona vaccine is judged to be better than the flu vaccine in terms of global public health.” There is a bar

However, voices say that they are facing a dilemma in this area. SK vasa temporarily halted production of flu vaccines by ramping up production of Astrane Zeneca (AZ) in the UK and Novavax in the US as the CMO of a coronavirus vaccine and by ramping up production of Skycobi One.

Faced with the dilemma of “which came first, the chicken or the chicken”, it also affects the performance during the first half of the year. Recently, SK Vasa has been focusing on the development and production of corona treatment. Sales and operating profit during the first half of this year were 225.4 billion won and 84.9 billion won, respectively. This is a decrease of 12.4% and 29.1%, respectively, compared to the same period last year. This is due to the result of the termination of the AZ Corona CMO contract.

President Ahn Jae-yong also responds to the recent flu health issue. Previously, the company had shown its will to produce a flu vaccine next year, with the Skycellflu 4-ga leading the way. Currently, SK Vasa is not producing a flu vaccine immediately, but it appears to be paying close attention to the current situation. This is not the situation of not producing flu vaccines like this year.

SK Vasa recently completed an emergency use listing (EUL) application with the World Health Organization (WHO) for Skycobi One, the first domestically developed treatment for coronavirus. The World Health Organization’s Emergency Use List is for the World Health Organization to list drugs with safety, efficacy and quality standards on the emergency use list to quickly supply vaccine treatments in urgent health emergencies such as Corona. As of August this year, a total of 11 coronavirus vaccines were listed on the World Health Organization’s Emergency Use List.

SK BASA plans to seriously supply Skycobi One to the global market once it is registered on the World Health Organization’s emergency use list this year. SK Bioscience previously completed an application for conditional approval with the UK Medicines Regulatory Authority (MHRA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in July.

An industry official said, “During this year alone, SK vasa has been somewhat demanding for Capex, which shows the size of production facilities, to cover corona and flu vaccines. There is a high possibility that vaccine production will resume,” he said. .

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