GC Pharma in talks with J&J for COVID-19 vaccine deal

By Shim Woo-hyun
  • Published : Sept 29, 2021 - 16:48
  • Updated : Sept 29, 2021 - 17:59

GC Pharma's headquarters in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province (GC Pharma)

South Korean biopharmaceutical firm GC Pharma is in talks with Janssen 
to sign a contract manufacturing deal for Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine, according to industry sources Wednesday.

The sources said Janssen conducted a site inspection of GC Pharma’s drug manufacturing facility in Ochang, North Chungcheong Province, this month. The inspection was said to have gone without any particular issues.

GC Pharma, however, has remained silent on rumors of a potential deal with the pharmaceuticals firm wholly owned by Johnson & Johnson.

”There is nothing that has been decided yet,” the company said in a regulatory filing released Wednesday. The company added it will make a separate announcement within a month, or when related matters are fixed.

GC Pharma’s plant in Ochang is capable of producing around 1 billion doses of a COVID-19 vaccine a year. The manufacturing capacity could increase to 2 billion-3 billion doses, according to GC Pharma.

GC Pharma’s manufacturing capacity could help Janssen meet global demand for its COVID-19 vaccine, which is expected to grow further as many countries, including the US, make decisions on booster shots of Jassen‘s COVID-19 vaccine in the near future.

In Korea, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety will roll out plans for booster shots in December.

Meanwhile, if GC Pharma successfully signs the deal, it will become the third local company to sign a contract manufacturing deal to produce a COVID-19 vaccine, following SK Bioscience and Samsung Biologics.

In May, Samsung Biologics, a biopharmaceutical unit of Korea’s top conglomerate Samsung Group, signed a deal with Moderna for the fill-and-finish process of its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

Last year, SK bioscience signed an agreement with AstraZeneca to produce AZD1222.