January 11, 2023, SEOUL, Republic of Korea — Gachon University, the Korea mRNA Vaccine Initiative (KmVAC), and the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) exchanged a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on January 10 to expedite collaboration.
The signing ceremony, held at Gachon University in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, was attended by Gachon’s Senior Vice President Prof. Mi-Ri Choi, and Prof. Kee-jong Hong, Director General of KmVAC, as well as IVI Director General Dr. Jerome Kim, and Deputy Director General of Science Dr. Manki Song.
The agreement calls for close cooperation in areas including exchange of technical information for infectious disease research and vaccine development; mutual cooperation in the entire vaccine development cycle including discovery of vaccine candidates, non-clinical and clinical trials; promotion of networking on research achievements and early vaccine utilization; personnel exchange between related organizations; and joint hosting of vaccine R&D forums.
Gachon University boasts of robust capabilities in medical service and education as it has the colleges of medicine, Asian medicine, pharmacology, and nursing. The College of Medicine, which opened in 1998, is armed with top-rated medical education infrastructure with strong scholarship programs and investment. The university also operates the Intelligence Brain Science Research Center, the Lee Gil-ya Cancer and Diabetes Institute, and the Gachon Bionano Research Institute that excel in brain imaging and basic science.
Prof. Mi-Ri Choi, Senior Vice President of Gachon University, said “Gachon is one of the most competitive universities in the field of basic medical science in Korea. With this agreement, we will make more far-reaching efforts to improve global health including vaccine development.”
The Korea mRNA Vaccine Initiative was launched in January 2022 with the support from the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. The initiative aims to secure vaccine technology that can promptly respond to the threat of emerging infectious diseases that will emerge in the future, and to build a platform for vaccine self-sufficiency with homegrown technology in order for Korea to strengthen its health security. Currently, KmVAC has awarded grants to nine clinical and non-clinical research projects, with a total of 26 organizations conducting research.
KmVAC Director General Prof. Kee-Jong Hong said, “IVI is an international organization devoted to vaccines for global public health and is hosted by Korea, and with this MOU, the organizations will seek cooperation in diverse areas including research and development of safe and effective vaccines.”
IVI Director General Dr. Jerome Kim said, “With the constant threat of emerging and reemerging infectious diseases including COVID-19 and variants, the world needs stronger capabilities to develop more efficacious vaccines faster. mRNA technology is one of the most promising platform technologies, and we are thrilled to collaborate with KmVAC, Gachon University and other partners to transform this innovative technology into new vaccines.”
About the International Vaccine Institute (IVI)
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is a non-profit international organization established in 1997 at the initiative of the United Nations Development Programme with a mission to discover, develop, and deliver safe, effective, and affordable vaccines for global health.
IVI’s current portfolio includes vaccines at all stages of pre-clinical and clinical development for infectious diseases that disproportionately affect low- and middle-income countries, such as cholera, typhoid, chikungunya, shigella, salmonella, schistosomiasis, hepatitis E, HPV, COVID-19, and more. IVI developed the world’s first low-cost oral cholera vaccine, pre-qualified by the World Health Organization (WHO), and developed a new-generation typhoid conjugate vaccine that is currently under assessment for WHO PQ.
IVI is headquartered in Seoul, Republic of Korea with a Europe Regional Office in Sweden and Collaborating Centers in Ghana, Ethiopia, and Madagascar. 39 countries and the WHO are members of IVI, and the governments of the Republic of Korea, Sweden, India, and Finland provide state funding. For more information, please visit https://www.ivi.int.
Aerie Em, Global Communications & Media Specialist
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