Hanmi Pharmaceutical Vying for the Position of “Vaccine Hub”


Hanmi Pharmaceutical [Stock price: KRW 337,000, 0.0% change] is in the limelight, as it is vying for the position of “vaccine hub” under the WHO vaccination program, with its capacity to produce one billion doses of mRNA vaccines annually.

According to industry officials, Hanmi Science [Stock price: KRW 81,600, 0.4% increase] is currently making preparations in a bid to designated as regional vaccine hub by WHO.

The project will be carried out as part of the Korea-US Global Vaccine Partnership agreed at the US-South Korea summit this past May in an effort to set up mass production bases to supply vaccines around the world via WHO and COVAX.

WHO recently announced its plans to build a COVID-19 vaccine hub in South Africa. For the manufacture of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, Biovac and Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines headquartered in the country will be in charge of development and production. Efforts are being made to draw participation from Pfizer, Moderna, and other pharmaceutical companies that have developed and started producing mRNA vaccines.

Hanmi Science, with CEO Lim Chong-yoon, is reportedly trying to join the WHO project. To be selected as a project participant, one needs to prove its mRNA vaccine production capacity, and the company has determined that it fits the bill based on a thorough internal review.

Hanmi Fine Chemical, an affiliate that produces active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), is able to supply enough ingredients for up to 300 million doses of mRNA vaccines per year. Hanmi’s capacity to produce the mRNA vaccine itself surpasses its capacity to produce the APIs. Hanmi Bio Plant in Pyeongtaek, for example, is capable of manufacturing 100 million doses of DNA vaccines and 1 billion doses of mRNA vaccines a year.

“Once Hanmi Pharmaceutical secures the raw materials and licenses from an mRNA vaccine developer, it will be able to produce 1 billion doses with no trouble. That is enough to vaccinate every citizen of Korea with two doses each. That is, the capacity to produce 1 billion doses a year is sufficient to contribute to eliminating the ‘vaccine drought’ in Korea,” said an industry official.

If chosen for WHO’s project, Hanmi Science will emerge as a notable vaccine hub in the world. Together with St Pharm and the Green Cross, Hanmi Science has formed the Next-Generation mRNA Vaccine Platform Technology Consortium in an effort to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. Their goal is to manufacture 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by localizing the mRNA vaccine technology by next year. WHO’s project will be an impetus for Hanmi Science to become a pharmaceutical company with the capacity develop a vaccine and supply it worldwide.

An industry official said, “Licensing from Pfizer or Moderna is a prerequisite for speeding up the process of becoming a vaccine hub through WHO’s project. We will need to keep an eye out to see what happens.”

Source: Money Today