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Samsung Biologics vaguely admits process underway on Moderana vaccine production

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[Photo by Samsung Biologics Co.]

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Samsung Biologics Co. shares extended gains after the company ambiguously suggested it could be consigned with production of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine Friday.

“We cannot confirm at this stage as nothing has been finalized,” the company said in a disclosure upon a report that it would be responsible for Moderna vaccine supplies to Korea and other parts of Asia. It added it would update disclosure when confirmed or developments are made within a month.

The statement contrasts with its clean-cut denial on Wednesday on another media report about its production of Pfizer vaccine.

Samsung Biologics shares jumped 7.6 percent to 930,000 won ($822.79) as of Friday noon after extending gains from 764,000 won on May 4.

Speculation on the potential candidates have been running wild since the Korean health authority earlier this month said negotiations were underway with a certified vaccine maker and a Korean drug maker to start produce Covid-19 vaccines in Korea as early as August without giving names. Samsung Biologics has been floated as one of the most likely vaccine producers.

Samsung Biologics is the largest drug CMO in the world with annual production capacity of 364,000 liters. It does not have any experience in making vaccines but industry experts anticipate the company is fully capable of fill-finish process when antigen is supplied.

Separately, Moderna has kicked off recruitment for senior executives to run its Korea office. The U.S. vaccine maker is currently setting up a subsidiary in Korea.

Moderna’s mRNA vaccine received the approval from the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety’s legal consultative body on Thursday. The Korean drug ministry is to issue the final decision on May 21.

[ⓒ Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]
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