Russia will enter into an agreement with a consortium of South Korean biomedical companies to manufacture the Sputnik V vaccine for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), with the aim of producing 500,000 million doses.
Industry sources in Korea said the consortium that includes firms Binex, ISU Abxis, Boryung Biopharma, Chong Kun Dang Bio, Quratis, Humendix and Andong Animal Cell Validation Support Center are in negotiations with the Russian Direct Investment Fund over specific production quantities and prices.
According to Hankook Korus Pharm, a member of the consortium, South Korean firms are planning to produce at least 500 million doses of the Russian vaccine.
The Russian fund has said one dose of Sputnik V will sell for about $10. South Korean firms will be responsible for manufacturing $5 billion worth of Russian vaccines.
After accounting for production costs, Korean companies are expected to make a 10 to 30 percent gross profit per dose.
Russia came under criticism last year after it said in August it had the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine before completing Phase 3 of trials for Sputnik V.
However, the country’s vaccine and claims of a 92-percent efficacy rate has gained traction in the scientific community.
In early February the Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal, said Sputnik V had a 91.6-percent efficacy rate against the novel coronavirus, and a 91.8-percent rate for vaccine recipients over age 60.
“The development of the Sputnik V vaccine has been criticized for unseemly haste, corner cutting, and an absence of transparency. But the outcome reported here is clear and the scientific principle of vaccination is demonstrated, which means another vaccine can now join the fight to reduce the incidence of Covid-19,” the Lancet said.