SK Chemicals gets Korea nod for cell-culture flu vaccine 'SKYCellflu'

South Korea's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has approved a flu vaccine from SK Chemicals, making it the first domestic manufacturer using cell culture technology to build a vaccine. The move also makes SK Chemicals a potential player in a heated regional race to expand vaccine production capabilities.

The ministry, formerly known as the Korean FDA, approved SKYCellflu, which the company says allows the production of a greater amount of influenza vaccine in a shorter amount of time, approximately one-third of that required for the conventional process using fertilized chicken eggs.

The company has a vaccine production facility, also known as "L House," located in Andong, Korea, as it works to meet regional and global demand spurred by increased public health budget spending on preventative care.

In March 2014, the company entered the collaboration on an innovative pneumococcal vaccine with Sanofi Pasteur and has also worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a new typhoid conjugate vaccine in 2014.

Indonesia and Malaysia are also working to develop vaccine-manufacturing capabilities to meet regional demand and hold down costs by achieving scale.

India is a regional leader in meeting demand from campaigns sponsored in part by the World Health Organization and UNICEF at a size and scale that has attracted attention from firms like Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi Pasteur. Earlier this year, China's FDA awarded marketing approval of the world's first Sabin strain inactivated polio vaccine, marking a milestone as well for the Institute of Medical Biology of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Multinational firms are led by GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) following the recent completion of its expansive portfolio swap with Novartis ($NVS).

- here's a release