Shares of Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) rose 7% on Thursday after the biotechnology company entered into a development and supply agreement with SK Bioscience, a subsidiary of the South Korean giant SK Group.
SK Bioscience produces the antigen component of Novavax’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine, NVX-CoV2373. The two companies also reached an agreement with the South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare to make the vaccine – if it proves both safe and effective – available in South Korea and international markets.
“We are proud to partner with SK Bioscience to fulfill our commitment to ensure global delivery of NVX-CoV2373,” Novavax CEO Stanley Erck said in a press release. “SK Bioscience shares our sense of urgency to ensure broad and equitable access for our COVID-19 vaccine candidate worldwide.”
Early data from Novavax Phase 1/2 trials showed that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate produced a robust antibody response and was generally well tolerated. These results apparently attracted the interest of SK Groups and the South Korean government. Other governments have also shown interest in NVX-CoV2373; Novavax also recently reached agreements with Takeda Pharmaceutical and the Serum Institute of India Private Limited (SIIPL) to help bring its vaccine to Japan and India, respectively, should it receive regulatory approval.