Hanmi Pharmaceutical is taking steps to develop an mRNA coronavirus vaccine… “If it is developed, it will be more competitive than Moderna”


After Celltrion’s announcement on the development of an mRNA vaccine a month ago, Hanmi Pharmaceutical Group is taking steps to join the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine in Korea.

The domestic pharmaceutical industry sees that Hanmi will be more competitive in the global market for mRNA vaccines than Moderna, which has no experience in vaccine production on a mass scale, causing supply disruptions.

Hanmi Science, the holding company of the Group, has reportedly completed its own development of six key raw materials essential for mRNA vaccines on August 9.

Hanmi Science, as the holding company of the Group, has been continuously accumulated all technologies relevant to Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, and developed a next-generation platform for new drug development. A few mRNA vaccine developers such as Pfizer, Moderna, CureVac, have been exploring the possibility of consignment production of mRNA-based vaccine undiluted solution through Hanmi Pharmaceutical. It is said that Hanmi has entered the stage where it will achieve full-fledged results.

According to industry predictions, if Hanmi succeeds in mRNA vaccine development, the company will be reborn as a global vaccine hub.

The particular strengths of Hanmi are ▲key raw material development ▲mRNA vaccine development using its own next-generation mRNA vaccine platform and ▲rapid manufacturing capacity improvement.

In fact, Hanmi Science has established a consortium with ST Pharm and GC Green Cross, and the consortium has reportedly been focusing on developing an mRNA vaccine.

The company’s goal is to secure domestic mRNA vaccine technology and commercialize the vaccine by next year.

The improvement in its manufacturing capacity is progressing at such a rapid pace that the industry views Hanmi has large-scale manufacturing capacity and facilities.

Hanmi Fine Chemical, a subsidiary of Hanmi Pharmaceutical Group and a supplier of active pharmaceutical ingredients, has capacity to produce and supply the key raw materials for up to 300 million doses of mRNA vaccines within one year, and 100 million doses of three key raw materials for the manufacture of Covid-19 vaccine per year.

In particular, it is said that production capacity of Hanmi’s bio plant factory in Pyeongtaek is at up to around 100 million doses of DNA vaccine and a billion mRNA vaccine doses.

This is in contrast to Moderna, which suffers production delays that disrupts supplies to countries while carrying out development and production simultaneously.

Moderna initially promised to provide South Korea with 8.5 million doses of vaccines, but has notified the government that there are delays to total vaccine deliveries expected for the month.

As a result, less than half of the contracted volume of the vaccine had been delivered, and an interval of 3–4 weeks between two doses has been delayed to a 6-week interval.

Regarding to Moderna’s supply chain disruptions, the industry points to the fact that the global supply chain is not properly established due to its lack of experience in mass production.

In fact, Moderna was a relatively unknown U.S.-based biotech company without a significant number of employees, except for the founders until the global COVID-19 outbreak last year.

“We have secured a mRNA vaccine platform technology, facilities and the capacity to produce raw materials used in the production of mRNA vaccines and mRNA vaccines on a large scale.”, an official from Hanmi tells in a phone interview in relation to this. “It is difficult to specify the timing of its introduction in Korea, but it will be officially announced whenever the development progresses.”

Source: The Public