Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, has formed a long-term strategic cooperation with SK Chemical to co-develop an innovative pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV). This agreement will enable Sanofi Pasteur to access the global PCV market of $4 billion. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the use of PCVs in all countries.
The collaboration agreement includes R&D, production and commercialization of a preventative pneumococcal disease vaccine. Sanofi will make an up-front payment of $23 million to SK Chemical. Both companies will co-invest in the development of the PCV vaccine project and, if successful, SK Chemical would produce the innovative vaccine at its production facility located in An-dong—the southern part of Korea. The product, once registered, would be launched globally by Sanofi Pasteur with shared profits outside of Korea, where SK Chemical would commercialize it with exclusive rights.
According to the WHO, diseases caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus)—such as pneumonia, meningitis and febrile bacteraemia—constitute a major, global public-health problem; otitis media, sinusitis and bronchitis are more common but less serious manifestations of infection. It is estimated that about 14.5 million episodes of serious pneumococcal disease occur annually, resulting in about 826,000 deaths in children aged one to 59 months.
SK Chemical recently unveiled its state-of-the-art, quality by design, multi-product production facility. The plant currently is producing various vaccines for clinical trials. Once the testing is over, the plant will start producing vaccines at large scale using next-generation technologies.