SK Bioscience and Government Pharmaceutical Organization Collaborate to Strengthen Vaccine Infrastructure in Thailand

In a significant step toward bolstering vaccine infrastructure and pandemic response, SK bioscience and the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) have joined forces, not only to benefit Thailand but also to extend their influence across the broader Southeast Asia region. The companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at fortifying the vaccine manufacturing environment in Thailand.

The MOU signing ceremony, held at the Ministry of Public Health in Nonthaburi, was attended by key figures, including Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health; Dr. Mingkwan Suphannaphong, Managing Director of GPO; Mr. Joyoung Jeon, Charge d’affaires ad interim, Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Thailand; Mr. Jaeyong Ahn, CEO of SK bioscience; and Dr. Hun Kim, President of Global R&D of SK bioscience.

The primary objective of this collaboration was to create a responsive system against new pandemics and to localise Thailand’s vaccine manufacturing capabilities, extending this initiative to benefit the entire Southeast Asia region.

The GPO, a state-owned pharmaceutical company established in 1966, has a pivotal role in supplying medicines and vaccines in Thailand, with its products forming a significant portion of supplies for public hospitals.

Through the MOU, SK bioscience and the GPO committed to strengthening Thailand’s vaccine development and manufacturing capabilities. Their long-term vision is to position Thailand as a prominent vaccine hub in Southeast Asia, fostering a cooperative system for health security.

As part of their strategy, SK bioscience and the GPO planned to transfer drug product manufacturing technology, specifically related to cell culture-based influenza vaccine. This marked a critical step toward enhancing local manufacturing capabilities, ensuring that the GPO could produce influenza vaccines with more efficiency.

SK bioscience’s commitment to promoting human health extended beyond this collaboration. The company’s ‘Glocalization Project’, which aligns with its R&D and manufacturing capabilities, aimed to bridge vaccine inequity gaps by transferring vital technologies to low- and middle-income countries with limited vaccine infrastructure. Discussions with governments and local companies across various regions, including the Middle East and Southeast Asia, were already in progress as part of this transformative initiative.

With the convergence of expertise from SK bioscience, the GPO’s manufacturing capability, and the support of health authorities, this partnership stood as a testament to successful global collaboration. As the project evolved, its potential to address vaccine security challenges and respond effectively to future pandemics remained a focal point for both parties.

As CEO of SK bioscience, Jaeyong Ahn, aptly expressed, “The fusion of technological prowess, manufacturing capabilities, and administrative support forms a powerful synergy. This partnership exemplifies a successful global response to pandemics, reaffirming our commitment to promoting public health worldwide.”