The IVI SK bioscience Park MahnHoon Award

Introduction

IVI – SK bioscience Park MahnHoon Award is presented in April each year to recognize up to 2 individual(s) and/or groups (organizations) worldwide who have made exceptional contributions in the field of vaccines. The annual Award is accorded jointly by IVI and SK bioscience, a South Korean innovative biopharmaceutical company specialized in vaccines. IVI is the world’s only non-profit international organization devoted exclusively to discovery, development and delivery of vaccines for global health.

Nomination Guideline

  • The nominee has made major scientific breakthrough, significant contributions to vaccine discovery and development, or has improved and expanded vaccine delivery, and/or
  • The nominee has demonstrated the impact of vaccines and immunization in public and global health by accelerating vaccines and vaccine innovation and expanding immunization across the globe.
  • Only selected nominators, who will receive confidential invitations, shall be entitled to nominate candidates.

Award Committee

Nominations will be reviewed by the Award Selection Committee, which will comprised of eight leading experts in vaccines, to select the finalists.

Awardees

  • The Award will honor up to two individual(s) and/or team (or organization), on each occasion. It is possible to split the single award evenly to recognize joint contributions to a vaccine(s).
  • The awardees will be contacted individually and will be officially announced in March each year.
  • The awardees will receive KRW100 million or US$91,000 (based on exchange rate of 1,100 KRW/USD) each.
  • Each awardee shall make a presentation on his/her work at the Award Ceremony, which is scheduled in April each year.

Dr. Park MahnHoon, the late former Vice Chairman of SK bioscience, is a pioneer of cell culture-based vaccines in South Korea who made important contributions to vaccines for global health. Born in 1957, Dr. Park joined SK chemicals in 2008 and served as CEO and CTO of SK chemicals’ Biopharmaceuticals Division before becoming SK bioscience’s Vice Chairman in 2018. Dr. Park spearheaded the growth of SK chemicals’ vaccine business by focusing on R&D and manufacturing, laying the foundation of today’s SK bioscience. He is credited for elevating South Korea’s vaccine R&D capabilities up to global standard while leading SK chemicals’ vaccine projects, including the joint development of an innovative pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) with SANOFI-Pasteur, and the development of a novel typhoid conjugate vaccine in collaboration with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation When licensed, these vaccines are expected to make significant impact in improving the health of people around the world including in low- and middle-income countries. As a visionary of the vaccine industry, Dr. Park played a pivotal role in strengthening South Korea’s vaccine sovereignty through the development of cell culture-based vaccine technology. He was behind the development and commercialization of the world’s first cell culture-based influenza vaccine (2015), and the development of a pneumococcal vaccine (2016) and the world’s second shingles vaccine (2017). His vision, leadership, passion and tireless endeavors towards excellence in vaccine R&D and manufacturing resulted in the successful development of homegrown ‘premium vaccines’ in South Korea today. Core technologies for SK bioscience’s own COVID-19 vaccine candidate, GBP510 and CMO production of COVID-19 vaccines developed by global biopharmaceutical companies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic largely derive from the cell culture-based vaccine technology established by Dr. Park as a living legacy of his lifetime for global health.

Recipients of IVI – SK bioscience Park Mahnhoon Award

2021

Dr. Tore Godal, MD, PhD

Dr. Godal, MD, PhD, served as founding CEO of GAVI from 1999-2004, when it earned $750 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation towards vaccination programs for children living in poverty. Through the alliance, more than 888 million children were vaccinated from 2000 to 2020. WHO and UNICEF estimate that Gavi has helped save more than 15 million lives. Dr. Godal also played a crucial role in the widespread introduction of mosquito nets, an initiative that has helped prevent millions of deaths from malaria. He continues his endeavors to accelerate the development and delivery of vaccines, currently serving as an advisor to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI), which he also helped create. CEPI has played a pivotal role in the accelerated development of vaccines against pandemic diseases including COVID-19. He was the 2019 winner of Norwegian King’s Medal of Merit and a co-winner (public health) of the 1999 Prince Mahidol Award.

Prof. Drew Weissman, MD, PhD & Prof. Katalin Karikó, PhD
Prof. Drew Weissman, a physician and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, is recognized for his contributions to RNA biology and the COVID-19 vaccines. He and his colleague Prof. Katalin Karikó jointly invented the modified mRNA technology being used in vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna to prevent COVID-19. Profs. Weissman and Karikó, a biochemist and Senior Vice President at BioNTech and an adjunct professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania, discovered a way to modify mRNA and then developed a delivery technique to package the mRNA in fat droplets (called lipid nanoparticles). These laboratory breakthroughs make it possible for mRNA to reach the proper part of the body and trigger the body’s immune system to fight disease. This innovation made mRNA safe, effective, and practical for use, establishing a foundation for two SARS-CoV-2 vaccines that have led the world’s fight against the pandemic virus. They are the co-winners of the 2022 Benjamin Franklin Medal in life sciences, the 2022 Breakthrough Prize in life sciences, and the 2022 Japan Prize.