Shares of Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) 7% increase on Thursday after the biotech company reached a development and supply agreement with SK Bioscience, a subsidiary of South Korean giant SK group.
SK Bioscience will produce the antigenic component of the experimental COVID-19 vaccine from Novavax, NVX-CoV2373. The two companies have also reached an agreement with the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare to make the vaccine – if it is proven to be safe and effective – available in Korea and the international market.
“We are proud to partner with SK Bioscience to fulfill our commitment to securing NVX-CoV2373 supply globally,” Novavax CEO Stanley Erck said in a press release. “SK Bioscience shares our sense of urgency to ensure broad and equitable access to our COVID-19 vaccine candidate worldwide.”
So what now
Preliminary data from Novavax’s 1/2 phase trial show that their COVID-19 vaccine candidate produces a strong antibody response and is generally well tolerated. These results clearly attracted the interest of SK Group and the Korean government. Other governments have also shown interest in NVX-CoV2373; Novavax has also recently reached deals with Takeda Pharmaceutical and the Indian Private Serum Institute (SIIPL) to help bring its vaccine to Japan and India, if it gets regulatory approval.