Organization Introduction

Welcoming Message

With the support of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, VITAL-Korea was launched in April 2020 to strengthen the nation’s vaccine self-sufficiency and to promote the discovery of novel vaccine candidates for clinical development with the vision of ‘securing vaccine sovereignty and entering the global market.’

Humanity has been constantly threatened by microbial and viral infections, as witnessed during the 2009 novel swine influenza (H1N1) pandemic and the current COVID-19 pandemic. The emergence and re-emergence of novel viral infections over the past 20 years forced a paradigm shift in vaccine development, establishing an innovative vaccine platform for rapid delivery of safe and effective vaccines.

The Republic of Korea has long suffered from both regional and global outbreaks of infectious diseases, highlighted by the current COVID-19 pandemic. The lack of domestic production necessitated us to depend on overseas supply chains, rendering the country vulnerable to vaccine shortages in time of outbreaks. Furthermore, there have been sporadic breakthrough infections despite the use of vaccines, which presents an ongoing challenge to the efficacy of previously developed vaccines.

Led by the World Health Organization (WHO), major advanced countries are improving their vaccine preventable systems to respond to infectious diseases, setting up mid/long-term policies and investment.

Vaccine accounts for only 3% of the global pharmaceutical market despite their proven role in controlling infectious diseases. The relatively small market share, risky long-term investment and finicky process in licensing place a high barrier to vaccine development. Although the global vaccine market is expected to grow in the future, it is currently dominated only by selected big pharma, controlling 80% of the global market; the competitiveness of Korean companies is insufficient. Nevertheless, to enhance the national health welfare and competitiveness, it is essential to secure the vaccine self-sufficiency through domestic development of vaccines integrated into a GMP-level production infrastructure.

To this end, VITAL-Korea aims to complete Phase 2 clinical trials of several major vaccine candidates, including three vaccines of National Immunization Program (NIP) and at least five vaccines of global unmet need. We further support innovative enabling technologies, including novel adjuvants and delivery platforms, which could be implemented for improving pre-existing vaccines or developing new vaccines.

We also expedite translational research from pre-clinical phase to clinical evaluations of the vaccine candidates in close cooperation with clinical research organizations (CROs) and GMP-level production facilities. By strengthening ties with international organizations, such as International Vaccine Institute (IVI), and governmental agencies, including the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KDCA), and its associated Vaccine Research Center (VRC), we will strive to accomplish the mission and vision of VITAL-Korea tor secure vaccine self-sufficiency in the Korea peninsula and establish global leadership in the battle against infectious diseases.

Thank you.

Director General Baik-Lin Seong