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Korea’s rise as global biomanufacturing workforce training hub

  • Date : 2022-02-25
  • Hit : 1678

Korea’s rise as global biomanufacturing workforce training hub

Feb 23, 2022

- Korea designated as WHO’s Global Biomanufacturing Workforce Training Hub
- The hub is expected to address the vaccine inequity issue and enhance the pandemic preparedness
- The Ministry of Health and Welfare plans to conduct introductory course on vaccine & biologics development and production for 370 trainees from LMICs this year

Feb 23 – The WHO announced Korea as global biomanufacturing workforce training hub on February 23, 23:00 (KST).

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus conveyed his congratulation to Minister Kwon Deok-cheol and said he is pleased to announce Korea as global manufacturing workforce training hub at the virtual announcement ceremony.

* Call for an expression of interest was announced on November 12, 2021. Korea’s expression of interest was submitted on December 10, 2021.

The WHO’s workforce training hub is a central institution that supports self-sustainable vaccine production in low-and-middle-income countries through providing manufacturing operation training of vaccines and biologics.

Covid-19 pandemic underscored vaccine inequalities and the WHO recognizes the urgency of enhancing the manufacturing capacity of biopharmaceuticals in LMICs that is pertinent to the issue.

The WHO has initiated the Global Biomanufacturing Workforce Training Hub project to educate and train the biologics manufacturing workforce and rectify vaccine inequality issues in LMICs.

The WHO noted that Korea was nominated because of the excellent manufacturing capacity of Korean bio-companies, training infrastructure, and strong willingness to commit by the Korean government.

Korean bio-companies have a biopharmaceutical manufacturing capacity of 600,000L/ year. This is the second -largest production capacity in the world*.

* Korea International Trade Association (KITA), The 4th Trade Focus: Analysis on Global Supply Chain of key Item, 2021

Korea previously has produced 5 types of Covid-19 vaccines* through contract manufacturing. Currently, a phase III clinical trial is being conducted for Korea’s first vaccine to be released by the first half of 2022.

* Astra Zeneca, Novavax, Sputnik V, Moderna, ZyCov-D

As part of the education infrastructure, public training centers for the bio-manufacturing process (to be utilized both domestically and internationally) will be expanded* and further training-specific facility** is to be established in the future

* Training centers established through public funding for training domestic biomanufacturing workforce:

2 Current Facilities – Songdo K-NIBRT Training Center, Osong K-Bio Training Center

2 Facilities to be completed by 2023 – Andong Viral Vaccine CDMO & Training Center, Hwasun QC/QA, and Analytical Assay

** The feasibility research on the establishment of the Global Bio Campus is commissioned (February, 2022).

A comprehensive public-private partnership comprised of Korean and international companies, universities, and public and international institutions was created to apply for the hub.

[Partners in the public-private partnership for the WHO’s Global Biomanufacturing Workforce Training Hub]

‣ Industry: Celltrion, Cytiva Korea, GC Pharma, Hanmi Science, Samsung Biologics, Sartorius Korea, SK Bioscience.
‣ International organization: International Vaccines Institute (IVI), Right Fund
‣ University: Seoul National University, Yonsei University, Korea University,
‣ Hospital: National Medical Center (NMC)
‣ Public Institution: Korea Health Industry Development Institute, Korea Foundation for International Healthcare (KOFIH), Korea Trade Association (KOTRA), Osong Medical Innovation Foundation
‣ Government agency: Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (KCDC), Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS), Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy, and Korean Intellectual Property Office
‣ International Institution: Inter-American Development Bank, PAVM, Biovac

Korea becoming the hub is a momentous achievement from close coordination and development of the pan-governmental “Global Vaccine Hub Strategy” that started last May after the Korea-US Summit and the national assembly as well as the government.

After the summit that took place in 21 May 2021, the Korean government created a momentum to expand our vaccine manufacturing capability and strengthen pandemic preparedness. Internal committee was formed to facilitate domestic development of vaccines and develop global supply chain network.*

* Creation of the Global Vaccine Hub Committee, supporting the phrase III clinical trial of Korea’s covid-19 vaccine, providing key input of vaccine for vaccine contract manufacturing, and attracting investment worth 6.3 trillion won domestically and FDI of 350 million dollars.

In a meeting with the WHO Director General that took place in Geneva, 23 November 2021, the Speaker of the National Assembly Byeongseok Park strongly recommended Korea to be nominated as the hub. The Prime Minister Bookyum Kim also have sent an official letter to the DG stating Korea’s strong commitment to the initiative.

* Minseok Kim, Chair of the Health and Welfare Committee, supported the project in budget process.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs spared no diplomatic effort for Korea's nomination by promoting the hub in every high-level diplomatic events including the “6th ROK-US Senior Economic Dialogue”.

The Korean government is ready to accommodate 370 trainees for vaccine and biologics manufacturing training by July this year.

100 trainees will receive 2-week lecture-based basic trainings on vaccine & biologics development and production and 210 trainees will receive a 3-week introductory course on quality management of global pharmaceutical standards.

60 trainees from the Asia-pacific region will participate in hands-on training of bio-manufacturing process. The training’s curriculum is developed jointly with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The nomination of Korea as the hub is a huge milestone signifying Korea’s transition from an aid recipient to a donor nation. We will share our experience of growth in the field of bio-industry with other nations.

The nomination will be an opportunity to demonstrate Korea’s global leadership by serving an active role in resolving the global vaccine inequity issue and strengthening the global health safety net.

The hub will act as a stepping stone for Korea to become a leading nation in the field of bio-industry.

Young Koreans (20% of the total trainees)* will join the hub’s training course to participate in a world-class training program and to have a global-networking experience.
* 370 international trainees and 150 Korean trainees will join the program in 2022. Going forward, 20% of the total trainees will be Koreans.

It will incentivize global companies to invest their manufacturing and R&D facilities in Korea.

On-site visits of companies that have dispatched their talented personnel as lecturers will serve as an opportunity to promote those Korean bio-companies.

Vaccine purchase and usage are decided on a national policy level. Therefore, the hub will help Korean companies’ expansion to the global market by improving their reliability.

Korea will establish a joint-steering committee and organize regular working-level meeting with the WHO to develop the curriculum, select trainees and discuss ways to form a global cooperative network.

Minister Kwon Deok-cheol said "the WHO’s nomination of Korea as the hub was accompanied with high expectation to show strong leadership in global health security by fully utilizing its capabilities in responding to the current and next possible pandemics."

He also added “we will strive to meet this expectation by making the Republic of Korea as the mecca of training global bio-workforce“.

// For inquiries, contact MOHW Media Relations (044-202-2048)


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