South Korea's SK Chemicals says flu vaccine sales pass 1M doses in 2 weeks

South Korea's SK Chemicals said domestic sales of the country's first cell-culture flu vaccine, SKYCellflu, passed 1 million doses within two weeks of launch. Plans for sales abroad are also in the cards.

Last month, SK Chemicals released SKYCellflu for sale domestically after a nod from South Korea's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.

The commercialization coincides with a normal seasonal vaccination cycle that started Aug. 20, the company previously said, citing ministry figures indicating approximately 20 million doses of influenza vaccines would be supplied this year.

"Launched on the 19th of last month, the cumulative orders for SKYCellflu reached 1.21 million doses throughout over 7,000 hospitals within South Korea as of Sept. 4. More than 1.2 million doses have already been supplied in the domestic market," the company said in a release this week, adding that the pace was 30% faster compared with the flu vaccine sales trend from the same period the previous year.

The company says the cell-culture process allows a greater amount of influenza vaccine to be produced in a shorter amount of time, approximately one-third of that required for the conventional process using fertilized chicken eggs.

Both growth prospects and competition across vaccine markets in Asia were cited by companies like Pfizer ($PFE) and GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) in second-quarter earnings calls as countries like South Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia work to develop vaccine-manufacturing capabilities to meet regional demand and hold down costs by achieving scale.

In the case of SK Chemicals and the influenza vaccine, the aim is both domestic and international, the company said last month. The company also clarified that the latest release should read 1 million instead of 100 million.

- here's the release