CEPI reserves manufacturing capacity for COVID-19 vaccines at SK bioscience


• Vaccine manufacturing capacity in 2020 and 2021 has been reserved for vaccines designated by CEPI.

• Reserved manufacturing capacity at SK bioscience will support COVAX goal to produce 2 billion doses of safe and effective vaccine by the end of 2021.

August 13 2020, Oslo, Norway— An agreement between CEPI and SK bioscience Co. Ltd. (SK bioscience) has secured capacity to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines at SK bioscience's facilities in South Korea, supporting the goal of CEPI and its COVAX partners to produce 2 billion doses of safe and effective vaccine by the end of 2021.

Under the terms of the agreement, SK bioscience will reserve manufacturing capacity in 2020 and 2021 exclusively for the development and production of COVID-19 vaccines designated by CEPI. CEPI has an option to extend the reservation of manufacturing capacity beyond 2021, should it be needed.

One or more CEPI-supported vaccine candidates are expected to be manufactured at SK bioscience's facilities, and appropriate vaccines will be selected based on the technical characteristics of the vaccines and their suitability for production at SK bioscience. It is anticipated that vaccines manufactured under this agreement would be procured and distributed through the COVAX Facility, a financing mechanism which will enable equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all participating countries.

Novavax is the first vaccine developer to enter into a manufacturing agreement with SK bioscience which will utilize the reserved capacity, announcing today that the companies have entered into a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) agreement for the manufacturing and supply of Novavax' COVID-19 vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373.

The business-as-usual pathway of waiting for vaccines to reach licensure before investing in manufacturing will not work in the age of COVID-19, when thousands are dying every day and economies have ground to a halt. If we wait until vaccines are licensed before we begin manufacturing we could risk delays of up to one year before vaccines are available; we must act now so that vaccines are ready to be distributed at scale as soon as they are proven to be safe and effective.

Global vaccine manufacturing capacity is a finite resource, so it's crucial that CEPI and our COVAX partners secure enough capacity now to deliver on our objective of producing 2 billion doses of vaccine by the end of 2021. Strategic investments in manufacturing – including reserving production capacity in advance - are vital to ensuring equitable access to safe and effective vaccines through COVAX.

Dr. Richard HatchettChief Executive Officer, CEPI

Collaboration is essential for the global community to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. As an innovator and one of the most advanced vaccine companies, SK bioscience is glad to be a part of this initiative which will boost the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines to shorten the period of crisis we are facing.SK bioscience's accumulated vaccine R&D and manufacturing capability has been spotlighted by the world's most advanced global biopharmaceutical companies, as well as global initiatives for the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing and supply such as CEPI.

Jaeyong AhnCEO of SK bioscience

CEPI, alongside Gavi and the World Health Organisation, co-leads the vaccines pillar of the ACT Accelerator — known as COVAX — which is working to accelerate research and development for promising vaccine candidates, manufacture doses at scale, and ensure rapid global access. Decisions around investment in manufacturing are taken in close collaboration between the three lead COVAX organisations.

CEPI's COVID-19 vaccine portfolio

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CEPI is supporting the research and development of a diverse portfolio of vaccine candidates based on a range of vaccine approaches. Of the nine vaccine candidates currently in the CEPI portfolio, seven have entered clinical trials out of 26 globally. CEPI has raised US$1.4bn in support of COVID-19 vaccine research and development, but urgently needs $700m in additional funds to continue to support the development of safe and effective vaccines which will be made globally available through COVAX.


Notes to Editors

About CEPI

CEPI is an innovative partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil organisations, launched at Davos in 2017, to develop vaccines to stop future epidemics. CEPI has moved with great urgency and in coordination with WHO in response to the emergence of COVID-19. CEPI has initiated 9 partnerships to develop vaccines against the novel coronavirus. The programmes will leverage rapid response platforms already supported by CEPI as well as new partnerships.

Before the emergence of COVID-19 CEPI's priority diseases included Ebola virus, Lassa virus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, Nipah virus, Rift Valley Fever virus and Chikungunya virus. CEPI also invested in platform technologies that can be used for rapid vaccine and immunoprophylactic development against unknown pathogens (Disease X).

Follow our news page for the latest updates.

About SK bioscience

SK bioscience is an innovative South Korean biopharmaceutical company specialized in the vaccine area. SK bioscience developed the cell-culture based influenza vaccine named SKYCellFluTM prequalified by WHO in 2019, SKYZosterTM, the world's second vaccine for shingles, and SKYVaricellaTM, the world's second WHO prequalified varicella vaccine for chicken pox. By leveraging the company's strengths on cutting-edge vaccine technologies, SK bioscience has been expanding its R&D portfolio including pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, human papillomavirus vaccine, typhoid conjugate vaccine and non-replicating rotavirus vaccine through in-house development or external partnership with public and private institutions around the globe pursuing global health. For the COVID-19 vaccine response, SK bioscience is undergoing development for its vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2 with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and using its established manufacturing capabilities, it has recently agreed to manufacture AstraZeneca's experimental COVID-19 vaccine to help AstraZeneca build global supplies of the vaccine.

Media Contacts


Email: [email protected]

Phone: +44 7387 055214

SK bioscience Co., Ltd.

Email: [email protected]