SK Chemicals begins marketing and sales of two new Sanofi vaccines

- Distribution of the world's top-selling meningococcal meningitis vaccine and cell culture-derived

   Japanese encephalitis vaccine
- SK Chemicals expands vaccine portfolio, creating synergy with its vaccine business

SK Chemicals (CEO Han Byeon-ro) announced on March 30 that it has signed a strategic agreement with Sanofi Pasteur (CEO Regis Launay, hereinafter Sanofi) for the promotion and distribution of two new vaccines in Korea.

According to the agreement, Sanofi will provide SK Chemicals with △ meningococcal meningitis vaccine named Menactra and △ cell culture-derived Japanese encephalitis vaccine, which then will be promoted and distributed for treatment of adult patients through SK Chemicals.

Menactra is a 4-valent protein-conjugate vaccine preventing meningococcal meningitis caused by 4 serogroups (A, C, Y, W-135) of meningococcal bacteria. It is the first vaccine in its class to obtain FDA (the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approval in 2005 with more than 70 million doses provided throughout 53 countries. It is the most-sold meningococcal protein-conjugate vaccine in the world. It has a proven rate of immunogenicity of over 98% against 4 serogroups in clinical trials carried out in the U.S.

Early diagnosis of meningococcal meningitis is difficult because of its non-specific symptoms like fever and headache. But the disease rapidly progresses and can be fatal within 24 hours. The disease's fatality rate is 10-14% and for survivors, 11-19% of them lose their arms or legs, become deaf, suffer nervous systems and aftereffects from the disease. Experts say that prevention is far more important than treatment.

It is reported that half a million people worldwide get meningococcal meningitis each year and 75,000 of them die.

Cell culture-derived Japanese encephalitis vaccine (live) is expecting an approval from the Korean Food and Drug Administration. It features a great level of safety with reduced risk of contamination during the production process because it is derived from cell (vero-cell) according to the recommendation of the WHO (World Health Organization). Plus, it recorded a protective antibody production rate within 28 days after a single vaccination in clinical trials conducted in Korea.

"With this agreement, Sanofi Pasteru is engaging in a strategic partnership to promote and distribute new vaccines. SK Chemicals is a reliable partner with advantages and expertise in the adult market and excellent competencies in the development and sales of vaccines. This agreement will expand the global partnership between SK Chemicals and Sanofi and enable even closer cooperation in Korea and abroad," said Sanofi CEO Regis Launay.

Through this agreement, SK Chemicals enlarged its portfolio of vaccines to include meningococcal meningitis vaccine and cell culture-derived Japanese encephalitis vaccine (live).

"With these premium vaccines recognized in the global market, our portfolio has become more diverse. Through the sales network that we have built on the efficacy of our products, we will promote these new vaccines as rapidly as possible," said SK Chemicals CEO Han Byung-ro.

SK Chemicals and Sanofi have continued their cooperation in R&D and marketing, including an agreement last year for global joint-development of the next-generation pneumococcus protein-conjugate vaccine.