The South Korean pharmaceutical company HLB signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Nanogen to acquire the rights to supply the Vietnamese biosimilar company’s COVID-19 vaccine, Nanocovax, across the globe, except for in Vietnam and India, it said Wednesday.
According to HLB, the two companies agreed to the transfer of technology for the Korean firm to produce and sell the Vietnamese partner’s vaccine, as well as to carry out global marketing campaigns. They plan to finish their negotiations once scientists representing each company finish reviewing the clinical data on Nanocovax within the next three months, the Korea Times reported.
Nanocovax is the only Vietnamese COVID-19 vaccine candidate conducting phase 3 clinical trials. At this moment, around 13,000 people in Vietnam are participating in the phase 3 trial, and Nanogen is awaiting the Vietnamese health ministry’s emergency use authorization to use Nanocovax.
HLB said Nanocovax is a recombinant protein subunit vaccine that succeeded in increasing the antibodies of volunteers in its phase 2 clinical trials more than 60 times 35 days after the first injection, and by 34 times after three months. The company claimed that the vaccine is effective for the Alpha and Beta variants.
The clinical trial results for Nanocovax have been analyzed by Germany’s Siemens Healthineers, which is regarded as a credible company in terms of data analysis.
Once Nanogen finishes its phase 3 clinical trials, it will start the process for getting approval for its COVID-19 vaccine from the World Health Organization (WHO), according to HLB. The Vietnamese firm submitted a vaccine sample to the WHO in July.
HLB Chairman Jin Yang-gon is one of the directors of Nanogen, while his company’s affiliate, NextScience, also holds a 10.4-percent stake in Nanogen as its third-largest shareholder. HLB Pharmaceutical, one of the subsidiaries of HLB, also signed an MOU with Nanogen last December to work together to expand their presence in the global pharmaceutical market.
“We will open the door to the domestic and overseas vaccine market by securing the global rights of Nanocovax, which has proven its high efficacy and safety amid the growing disruption in the vaccine supply worldwide,” Jin said in a press release.
Nanogen Chairman Ho Nhan also said: “Vietnam is the fourth vaccine producer in Asia, with a 126-year history of vaccine development. We highly value HLB’s previous experiences in the bio industry.”
One of the largest pharmaceutical companies in India, Vekaria Pharmaceutical Group, inked a deal with Nanogen earlier this month to supply Nanocovax to the world’s second-most populous country, the Korea Times reported.
By Park Jae-hyuk