SEOUL, May 14 (Yonhap) — Samsung Biologics, a biopharmaceutical unit of South Korea’s top conglomerate Samsung Group, said Friday that it has not been decided yet whether it will manufacture Moderna Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccines here.
A slew of local newspapers reported that Samsung Biologics is close to signing a contract manufacturing organization (CMO) contract to manufacture the U.S. drug firm’s mRNA vaccine against the novel coronavirus at plants in Songdo, west of Incheon.
“Nothing has been decided yet,” Samsung Biologics said in a regulatory filing. “A public announcement will be made at the possible moment or within one month.”
Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is currently under review by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, with the final approval expected on May 21.
Despite the denial, market speculation runs high that Samsung Biologics may announce the deal to produce the Moderna vaccine here in line with an upcoming summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Joe Biden.
The two leaders are scheduled to hold an in-person summit at the White House on May 21.
Earlier, a senior Seoul official said cooperation on COVID-19 vaccines will be a key agenda item during the summit.
Meanwhile, Pfizer Inc. denied earlier reports that the South Korean firm will manufacture its COVID-19 vaccines.