SEOUL, Korea — The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is joining hands with SK bioscience, a leading biopharmaceutical company in South Korea, to launch a “Vaccine Nobel Prize” to award people and organizations who made significant achievements and contributions in the global vaccine industry every year.
IVI and SK bioscience announced on November 30 that it held an agreement signing ceremony to launch the “Park MahnHoon Award,” which will select and award Korean and international individuals and organizations that made meaningful contributions to the development of the vaccine industry. The award was named after the late Vice Chairman Dr. Park MahnHoon of SK bioscience in honor of his research and development achievements.
In order to launch the “Park MahnHoon Award” as one of the most prestigious prizes in the field of vaccines, the two organizations agreed to form a panel of eight leading experts chaired by IVI Director General, which will evaluate individuals or organizations on their contributions to the development of vaccine(s) that reduce the impact of infectious diseases.
SK bioscience will contribute funding for two 100 million Korean won (approx. US$85,000) annual prizes to IVI for the awards, and the first award ceremony will take place on April 25, 2022 to commemorate the first anniversary of the late Dr. Park’s death.
Dr. Jerome Kim, Director General of IVI, Ms. Lee Mee-hae, the wife of the late Dr. Park, and Mr. Ahn Jae-Yong, CEO of SK bioscience attended the signing ceremony at IVI where they agreed to continue their partnership to honor Dr. Park and empower global talent to produce quality research results in vaccines.
“Dr. Park was a visionary of the vaccine industry who made significant contributions to global health by leading the development of innovative vaccines including a novel typhoid vaccine,” said Dr. Jerome Kim, Director General of IVI. “IVI will closely collaborate with SK bioscience to develop the Park MahnHoon Award to one of the most prestigious awards in vaccines and accelerate vaccines for global health.”
“We hope that Dr. Park’s passion and hopes will be delivered to global talents who will make contributions to the future of the vaccine industry,” said Mr. Ahn, CEO of SK bioscience. “We will continue our cooperation so that the Park MahnHoon Award establishes itself as a prestigious award in the field of vaccines.”
The late Vice Chairman Park is said to have raised Korea’s vaccine R&D capabilities up to a global standard due to his leadership in SK bioscience’s vaccine research projects. The development of the “next-generation pneumonia vaccine,” a joint project with Sanofi Pasteur and the typhoid vaccine in cooperation with IVI and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are among his many achievements.
Dr. Park also spearheaded the rapid and safe development of homegrown vaccines to help strengthen Korea’s “vaccine sovereignty” by using the cell culture vaccine technology. Dr. Park, who devoted his life to vaccine research, also led the development of the world’s first cell culture tetravalent influenza vaccine in 2015, the pneumococcal vaccine in 2016, and the world’s second shingles vaccine in 2017.
The core technologies for SK bioscience’s own COVID-19 vaccine, and other vaccines under consignment production are also based on the cell culture vaccine technology that was established by Dr. Park during his lifetime.
About the International Vaccine Institute (IVI)
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is a nonprofit inter-governmental organization established in 1997 at the initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). IVI has 36 countries and the World Health Organization (WHO) on its treaty, including the Republic of Korea, Sweden, India, and Finland as state funders.
Our mandate is to make vaccines available and accessible for the world’s most vulnerable people. We focus on infectious diseases of global health importance such as cholera, typhoid, shigella, salmonella, schistosomiasis, chikungunya, group A strep, Hepatitis A, HPV, TB, HIV, MERS, COVID-19, as well as antimicrobial resistance. For more information, please visit https://www.ivi.int.