Korean chemical company LG Chem has announced a three-year, $12.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in support of its efforts to develop a new polio vaccine, the Korean Biomedical Review reports.
The company will use the grant to advance clinical trials on a new inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) and expand its vaccine production facilities. In development since 2014, the vaccine is being prepared for two sets of Phase 2 clinical trials and, if approved by the World Health Organization, would be supplied to the global market starting in 2020, company officials said.
The WHO campaign to eradicate polio has led to an increase in the demand for IPVs to replace the oral polio vaccine (OPV) — which contains a weakened version of a live virus that can mutate and cause polio. IPVs are relatively more difficult to produce, however, while manufacturing facilities must meet tougher international standards.
"We are delighted to have a meaningful partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve global health welfare," said Song Jee-woong, president of LG Chem’s life science division. "We will be able to contribute to eradicating polio worldwide by providing safe and efficient vaccines, thanks to the firm support of the foundation."