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Sanofi in $155m influenza vaccine deal

Published on 12/02/18 at 10:50am

Sanofi has revealed that it has agreed a deal with SK Chemicals, a South Korean vaccine manufacturer, to license its cell culture technology in a $155 million deal.

The deal sees SK Chemicals receive $15 million up-front and a further $20 million once the technology has been transferred – the rest of $120 million is locked into milestone payments; there are also royalties tied to net sales of any product arising from the partnership.

The technology involves using animal cells to produce vaccines candidates, which, according to SK Chemicals, facilitates faster development and production.

 “SK Chemicals could reach this agreement by our determined strategy focusing on premium vaccine development based on innovative technologies and it is proof that Korean vaccine technologies have reached global levels,” said SK Chemicals CEO Park Mahn-hoon.

SK Chemicals has already used the technology to develop trivalent and quadrivalent cell culture-based influenza vaccines.

Such broader protection are becomingly increasingly sought after by national health authorities, as recent flu outbreaks, including this year’s, can be devastating if not enough protection is offered against various strains of the influenza.

SK Chemicals commercialised the first quadrivalent flu vaccine in 2016, using the technology that it has licensed to 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.

Sanofi will gain the exclusive rights to sell any vaccines developed through the use of the technology in the US and Europe.

The collaboration is not the first time the companies worked together, as they are already working together on a pneumococcal vaccine since 2014, which has progressed to Phase 1 stage of development.

Ben Hargreaves

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