The Korea Herald


LG Chem to develop homegrown 6-in-1 vaccine for babies

By Shim Woo-hyun

Published : Aug. 1, 2023 - 16:04

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LG Chem logo (LG Chem) LG Chem logo (LG Chem)

LG Chem, a Korean chemicals manufacturer and drug developer, said Tuesday that the company is developing the country's first homegrown hexavalent vaccine for babies.

A hexavalent vaccine, in which the country is entirely dependent on imports, is a combination vaccine that allows fewer injections for babies.

It also provides more protection against six deadly diseases, including diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyelitis, Haemophilus influenza type B and hepatitis B.

LG Chem said the company will soon begin a phase 1 clinical trial with 42 adults at Seoul National University Hospital to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of its six-in-one vaccine candidate APV006.

The goal is to commercialize the vaccine by 2030, and LG Chem will invest over 200 billion won ($156 million) to develop the vaccine, the company said.

LG Chem hopes that its new hexavalent vaccine could reduce the country’s dependency on imports of the vaccine.

According to LG Chem, there is only one six-in-one vaccine available in the country, Hexaxim, supplied by a single company, Sanofi. This poses a potential supply issue risk in the future.

“Changes in foreign pharmaceutical companies' vaccine supply policy, as well as potential quality issues, can always have a significant impact on the country’s vaccine procurement,” an official from LG Chem said.

Between 2021 and 2022, South Korea faced a supply shortage of pentavalent vaccines as their suppliers, GSK and Sanofi, had troubles shipping out their products. It resulted in parents having their children get more injections to protect them from multiple diseases.

LG Chem added that six-in-one vaccines could be included in the national immunization program in the future.

“The company will speed up commercialization (of the vaccine) and continue to seek opportunities in overseas countries," said Son Jee-woong, the head of Life Sciences at LG Chem.

Meanwhile, LG Chem is conducting a phase 2 clinical trial for the hexavalent vaccine LBVD for global immunization programs. LBVD includes the whole cell pertussis vaccine, different from its new six-in-one vaccine candidate APV006, which includes an acellular pertussis vaccine.

In South Korea, acellular pertussis vaccines are more commonly used. Sanofi’s Hexaxim also includes an acellular pertussis vaccine.