In South Korea, vaccine and biotech company SK bioscience will invest a total of $261 million — which includes a previous investment of $33 million — to establish the Songdo Global Research & Process Development Center (The R&PD Center). The R&PD Center will be built on a more than 327,371-square foot-site in Songdo.
Once the R&PD Center is completed in the first half of 2025, SK biotech’s headquarters and research and development (R&D) center currently located in Pangyo will move to the Songdo area.
“The establishment of the R&PD Center will be a crucial milestone for us to advance the entire vaccine and biopharmaceutical industry beyond Korea to the world,” said Jaeyong Ahn, CEO of SK bioscience. “We will ultimately organize the ‘Dream Team’ of the global health network to protect a safe tomorrow for people around the world.”
SK bioscience’s goal is to secure the newest technologies covering the entire process from basic research to commercial manufacturing, and to ultimately create a global vaccine ecosystem to preemptively respond to new infectious diseases. SK bioscience plans to operate an Open Lab in the R&PD Center to strengthen a global vaccine network. The Open Lab will be utilized as a joint research space for international organizations and biopharmaceutical companies around the world to develop new vaccines with SK bioscience.
In addition, collaborations such as manpower training for other countries with high demand for vaccine development, but without enough research capacities, are planned in the Open Lab. The Open Lab will help promote the “glocalization” business, a project which transfers SK bioscience’s R&D and production capabilities to countries with high demand for vaccines but insufficient human and physical infrastructure, and one of the main future strategies of SK bioscience.
SK bioscience will also secure the advanced BSL-3 (Biological Safety Level) research facilities to further strengthen its own vaccine pipeline. BSL is a rating standard for biological facilities capable of conducting microbial research under high biohazard levels. BSL-3 level research facilities are required for development of vaccines against new infectious diseases.
SK bioscience also plans to operate a pilot plant at the R&PD to strengthen global competitiveness in the C(D)MO market. The plant will be designed as a cGMP-level production facility and be used for new tasks such as CGT (Cell and Gene Therapy) mRNA, and viral vectors platforms research. The pilot plant is expected to play a key role in leading cooperation and investment with other biopharmaceutical companies.