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(LEAD) SK Chemicals licenses flu vaccine technology to Sanofi Pasteur for US$155 mln

2018/02/12 18:38

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By Kim Kwang-tae

SEOUL, Feb. 12 (Yonhap) -- SK Chemicals Co., a South Korean vaccine maker, said Monday that it has signed a US$155 million deal to license cell culture technology to Sanofi Pasteur Inc. for development of a universal influenza vaccine.

The company said in a regulatory filing that it will provide Sanofi Pasteur, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, with the technology needed to produce highly efficient influenza vaccines.

Universal vaccines are the next-generation of influenza vaccines, designed to protect against many strains of the virus over several years by targeting the common sequences many flu viruses share. The key advantage will be broader coverage against several seasonal flu strains, according to Sanofi.

SK Chemicals has commercialized both trivalent and quadrivalent cell culture-based influenza vaccines since 2015. The cell-based approach in future broadly protective vaccines could potentially speed manufacturing processes and increase production yields, according to Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi.

"We're pleased to license this innovative technology today, as it brings us a step forward in the development of a future broadly-protective influenza vaccine, a key priority for Sanofi Pasteur," said David Loew, CEO of Sanofi Pasteur.

SK Chemicals CEO Park Mahn-hoon said SK Chemicals secured the pact by its strategy of focusing on premium vaccine development based on innovative technologies.

"It is a sign that Korean vaccine technologies reach the global level," said Park.

Under the deal, SK Chemicals will receive an initial upfront payment of $15 million, and an additional payment of $20 million after the completion of the technology transfer. The potential milestone payments could be as high as $120 million, as well as additional royalties on net sales.

The agreement between SK Chemicals and Sanofi Pasteur could reach up to the $155 million if all targets are achieved, according to Sanofi.

entropy@yna.co.kr

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