SEOUL (Sputnik) - South Korea will become one of the first countries to launch the full-scale production of Russia's coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V abroad, as the process of technology transfer to pharmaceutical companies in the Asian country is nearing completion.
South Korea is at the forefront among foreign vaccine production partners of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia's sovereign wealth fund that is behind Sputnik V exports, as two consortiums — one led by biotech companies GL Rapha and ISU ABXIS and another by pharmaceutical company Huons Global — already inked deals with RDIF on technology transfer and production of the vaccine.
"I cannot say for sure what the situation is at the factories producing Sputnik V in India, China and other countries, but, as far as I know, South Korea is at the forefront of RDIF's foreign contract manufacturing partners," GL Rapha's representative, Kim Gi Young, told Sputnik.
RDIF reached the agreement on technology transfer and the vaccine's production with GL Rapha and ISU ABXIS on Thursday, marking the first case of the consortium officially signing a contract with RDIF that included the actual technology transfer.
According to Kim, GL Rapha has already sent an inspection batch of the vaccine to Russia to complete the validation procedure and expects to be able to start full-scale production in the near future.
The second consortium, including also Prestige BioPharma, Humedix and Boran Pharma companies, that will complement the one organised by GL Rapha, inked the deal earlier on Friday, with Huons Global planning to launch the pilot production in August, the South Korean company told Sputnik.
"So far, we cannot disclose detailed schedules for receiving equipment and setting up production, as well as volume obligations, but later we can inform about them. The volumes of supplies, amounts and other details are currently the subject of nondisclosure under the contract. However, we can confirm that we have agreed on a technology transfer," the company added.
All vaccines produced by both groups in South Korea will be exported abroad, while the Asian country itself does not use Sputnik V.