SEOUL, July 22 (Korea Bizwire) – Despite the blazing hot weather, pharmaceutical companies are gearing up to compete in the market for flu vaccines for the winter season, particularly tetravalent flu vaccines that are expected to hit the market this year.
Tetravalent flu vaccines, which mark the next development step after trivalent flu vaccines, provide protection against four influenza viruses, as the name suggests. The global pharmaceutical industry is recommending that individuals receive tetravalent vaccines as existing flu viruses often undergo mutations.
According to an industry official, pharmaceutical companies including Green Cross and SK Chemicals have already been granted approval to release vaccinations this fall, and Green Cross was the first to complete the approval process for a tetravalent vaccine.
Approval from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) is required for a vaccine or blood derivatives that require special caution before being released into the market. It typically takes at least 35 days for a flu vaccine to be granted release approval.
The only tetravalent flu vaccine currently being sold in the Korean market is Fluarix Tetra, developed by British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
Since Green Cross has already been granted approval to release GC Flu Quadrivalent, and SK Chemicals is awaiting approval for its ‘skyCellflu’ vaccine, the pharmaceutical market is set to have at least three companies square off in a battle for flu vaccine supremacy.
“Approved vaccines are only part of our vaccination product portfolio, and we are expecting to see more of our trivalent and tetravalent flu vaccines receive approval in the future,” said a Green Cross official. “We cannot disclose the quantity of vaccines that will be released to the market this year, but both types of vaccines will compose about the same amount.”
Some industry experts expect that vaccination volumes will be controlled accordingly because this year will mark a transition period with tetravalent flu vaccines replacing trivalent flu vaccines.
Other pharmaceutical companies such as Boryung Biopharma Co., Korea Vaccine, and Ilyang Pharmaceutical Co. have also received approval for their tetravalent flu vaccines from the MFDS, but have yet to disclose information about release dates.
By Nonnie Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org)