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mRNA vaccine race intensifies with more South Korean players involved in development, says GlobalData

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The success of mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 has generated a lot of interest in companies globally. While a late entrant to the race, several South Korean players are participating in the development of mRNA vaccines, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

South Korean companies have recently established two consortiums to focus on mRNA vaccine development. In September 2021, the mRNA Bio Venture Consortium was launched with Quratis, EyeGene, and Gene One BioScience. Another consortium K-mRNA was launched in June 2021 by Hanmi Pharmaceutical, ST Pharm, and Green Cross.

According to GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Center, mRNA vaccines from two South Korean companies Quratis Inc. and Eyegene Inc., QTP-104 and EG-COVID, respectively, are expected to enter Phase I soon.

Mr. Prashant Khadayate, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The formation of consortiums clearly shows the ambition of South Korean companies towards mRNA vaccine development. It is too early to comment on the success of mRNA vaccines from these consortiums. However, such consortia are expected to make the research and development collaboration easier and beneficial to all partners.”

South Korea aims to become a global hub for the production of COVID-19 vaccines over the next five years. In May 2021, Moderna signed a memorandum of understanding with the Korea National Institute of Health (KNIH), an agency of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), on mRNA vaccine research in South Korea.

Mr. Khadayate concludes: “South Korea has proven its capabilities within the biotechnology field. Focusing on mRNA vaccines could further add a feather in its cap and will certainly re-iterate its biotechnology capabilities globally. Furthermore, the participation of different stakeholders, including the South Korean government, KNIH and private companies, to improve mRNA vaccine research and production shows South Korea’s eagerness to be a key country in the mRNA vaccine race.

“Even though multiple companies from South Korea have started focusing on mRNA vaccines, only those with extensive production capabilities and commercial strength will be the winners, in the long run, considering that the efficacy and the safety data for the majority of the vaccines is falling in a narrow range versus each other.”

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