Good morning, everyone.
I am glad that representatives from health-related agencies and prominent vaccine companies from both nations are here today for this meaningful event. I am grateful to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, Minister of Health and Welfare Kwon Deok-cheol and Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Moon Sung-wook for joining us at this significant meeting to sign business-to-business and business-to-government agreements and MOUs for a stronger ROK-U.S. vaccine alliance.
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel, Novavax CEO Stanley Erck, Samsung Biologics CEO John Rim, SK bioscience CEO Ahn Jae-yong and SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won are working on the frontlines to forge a ROK-U.S. vaccine alliance. I am pleased to meet you all again at this meaningful ceremony – our second meeting in as many days.
President Biden and I held a summit yesterday and agreed to establish a comprehensive KORUS Global Vaccine Partnership. Under these dire circumstances where humankind is confronting a vaccine shortage, this partnership will contribute to ending the COVID-19 pandemic in the near future. Its purpose can be met by increasing global vaccine supplies dramatically through a combination of America’s core technology and Korea’s production capacity. Korea has the world’s second largest biopharmaceutical production capacity following the United States. With excellent manufacturing technologies and professionals, Korean companies have been contract manufacturing and supplying the world a number of COVID-19 vaccines, including those of AstraZeneca and Novavax as well as Sputnik V. Their outstanding quality control also contributes to very high confidence in vaccines produced in Korea.
Today, I am truly delighted and eager about Moderna and Samgsung Biologics signing a COVID-19 vaccine contract manufacturing agreement. Moderna is one of the world’s best developers of new mRNA-based drugs and vaccines, and Samsung Biologics is equipped with world-class vaccine production capabilities. The cooperation between the two companies will help address global vaccine supply shortages and accelerate the recovery of daily routines for all of humanity. On top of this, Moderna will sign MOUs on investment and production cooperation with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Ministry of Health and Welfare. With the National Institute of Health of Korea, the company will sign an MOU on mRNA vaccine development. In addition to the existing agreements for contract manufacturing and technology transfer, Novavax will execute MOUs on R&D with SK bioscience and the Ministry of Health and Welfare. We are also looking forward to extending its technology transfer contract not before too long.
The United States and the Republic of Korea have now secured a production base that will allow us to effectively respond to global vaccine demand. Furthermore, it has become possible to provide needed doses to allies and developing countries more quickly. I believe this will serve as an opportunity to further cement the role of the United States as a global vaccine arsenal and leader.
Korean companies also have gained an opportunity to increase their expertise and development capabilities through vaccine related cooperation with U.S. businesses. They will rapidly expand vaccine production capacity at their manufacturing facilities in Korea to satisfy the growing global demand for COVID-19 vaccines. Korea will faithfully play a role in contributing to humanity as a global vaccine supply hub.
I ask every government ministry and agency to do everything possible to support the business activities of companies in both countries as well. I would like them to fulfill all of their roles to help Korea move closer to becoming the world’s leading vaccine production hub.
I hope that today’s meeting will serve as an opportunity to expand the scope of cooperation between the businesses of our two countries and strengthen the KORUS Global Vaccine Partnership. I express my congratulations and gratitude once again to Moderna and Samsung Biologics as well as to Novavax and SK bioscience and to the relevant Korean and American government officials for their efforts to create a successful partnership.