In February 2023 SK bioscience announced its intention to establish the ‘Songdo Global Research & Process Development Centre (The R&PD Centre)’. The site, in Songdo, Republic of Korea, will be built with U$ 261 million (325.7 billion KRW). The estimated date of completion is early in 2025, upon which the current centre in Pangyo will relocate.  

A vaccine ecosystem 

SK bioscience emphasised a desire to “secure the newest technologies covering the entire process”. This spans “basic research to commercial manufacturing” in an attempt to create a “global vaccine ecosystem” for future infectious disease threats.  

The ‘Open Lab’ 

In creating the “vaccine ecosystem”, SK bioscience will operate an ‘Open Lab’ in the centre. This will be used as a “joint research space for international organisations and biopharmaceutical companies” to collaborate with SK bioscience on new vaccines.  

The Open Lab is also intended to promote collaborations “such as manpower training for other countries which do not have enough research capacities”.  

“The operation of the Open Lab will help promoting 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”.  

Further ambitions 

Further to these plans, SK bioscience plans to “operate a pilot plant to strengthen global competitiveness in the C(D)MO market”. Thus, the small-scale facility will be established at the R&PD, designed as a cGMP-level production facility. This is the “highest demanding standard worldwide”. This plant will be used for tasks that comprise the main growth strategies of the company, such as Cell and Gene Therapy mRNA, and viral vectors platforms research.  

Jaeyong Ahn, CEO of SK bioscience, described the establishment of the Centre as a “crucial milestone” to “advance the entire vaccine and biopharmaceutical industry beyond Korea to the world”.  

“We will ultimately organise the ‘Dream Team’ of the global health network to protect a safe tomorrow for people around the world”.  

We will hear more from SK bioscience at the World Vaccine Congress in Washington this April. To join us there get your tickets now.