The Korean International Vaccine Institute (IVI), EuBiologics and DEK Vaccines Limited, has signed an agreement for the transfer of technology to produce oral cholera vaccines (OCV) in the country.
Per the agreement, IVI Korea and EuBiologics would unveil the technology that would be made accessible to DEK Vaccines for manufacturing.
Officials of DEK Vaccines would be trained by EuBiologics at its factory to enable them to produce vaccines that would be of the same quality with those produced by the company in Korea.
The agreement is also aimed at increasing global vaccine production capacity, including reducing disparities in vaccine access for African children.
The event was attended by industry players and experts from the fields of science, medicine and industry.
The Chief Executive Officer of DEK, Dr Kofi Nsiah-Poku, said the event symbolized the seamless exchange of knowledge, innovation and progress from one realm to the other, and also marked the beginning of a promising journey towards technological advancement and collaboration for vaccine manufacturing in the country and Africa as a whole.
The chief executive said that production of the vaccines would begin at the end of 2024.
“We are going to start with cholera vaccine and later do typhoid vaccines as well.
“DEK Vaccines Limited is committed to its mission of advancing science for the benefit of humanity, and this technology transfer represents a significant stride towards achieving that goal,” Dr Nsiah-Poku added.
Currently, he said that the company was building the necessary infrastructure to train its personnel on the technology.
The International Marketing Team Leader of EuBiologics, Rachel Park, said that EuBiologics was a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company based in South Korea which was focused on vaccine development for global public health.
She said the company had two manufacturing sites in Chuncheon, with a total capacity to produce 500 million doses of vaccines.
Ms Park said that the company was the largest and the only supplier of oral cholera vaccine to WHO funded global stockpile, adding that “we have shipped more than 110 million doses to low and middle-income countries since October 2016”.
“Our oral cholera vaccine manufacturing capacity is up to 90 million doses after the completion of expansion ongoing with the support of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“We are into the development of cholera conjugate vaccine with the International Vaccine Institute to improve efficacy for children under five years.
“Given that cholera conjugate vaccine is successful, we will consider developing combination vaccines, cholera/typhoid/meningitis,” she said.
A representative of IVI, Seongmin Andrea Kim, expressed concern over the plight of the continent in dealing with cholera and other water borne diseases such as typhoid and meningitis, for which reason he said the company had decided to make Ghana a hub of making waterborne diseases conjugate vaccines in Africa.
The Director in charge of Technical Coordination of the Ministry of Health, Dr Baffour Awuah, said: “All this attest to the fact that Ghana is ready to become self-reliant soon”.
He thanked the partners for having confidence in DEK and also for the agreement.
Dr Awuah gave an assurance that the ministry would continue to provide the needed support for the successful implementation of the initiative and called on other private manufacturers to partner the company.