(Corrects Boryung representation of Sinovac in paragraph 6, Sinovac share trading status in paragraph 12)
* Boryung shares up as much as 15 pct
* Says final size of deal undecided
* Says Sinovac can supply 10 mln doses
* Sinovac says talk is “premature,” denies volume
By Shin Jieun and Lucy Hornby
SEOUL/BEIJING, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Shares in South Korea’s Boryung Pharm (003850.KS) soared to a 14-month high on Tuesday on news it would acquire supplies of H1N1 flu vaccine from China’s Sinovac (SVA.A), though Sinovac said it had merely agreed that Boryung would be its agent in the South Korean market.
“Details of the deal have not yet been decided and will be specified when South Korean health authorities approve the deal,” a Boryung spokesman told Reuters, adding Sinovac could supply 10 million doeses or more.
Sinovac media relations director Pearson Liu said the agreement was only for Boryung to represent Sinovac. He denied the figure of 10 million doses, which would account for almost half of Sinovac’s annual production.
“It’s a bit premature to talk about this. We have only just applied for domestic approval of our vaccine,” he told Reuters.
“It’s basically them helping us to access that (Korean) market.”
Boryung already represents Sinovac in applying for South Korean approval of other vaccines, and expressed interest in the H1N1 vaccine, he said. Sinovac would first have to meet its commitments to China’s domestic market.
Shares in Boryung jumped as much as 15 percent, and closed 5 percent higher at 44,400 won, outpacing the wider market's .KS11 2 percent gain.
Shares in Green Cross (006280.KS), the only South Korean drug firm able to mass produce the H1N1 flu vaccine, closed 15 percent higher. It signed a vaccine supply deal with the government last week.
A Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) official told Reuters the government secured 1.1 million doses of vaccine through a 9.1 billion won ($7.3 million) deal with Green Cross. It would receive the vaccines by end-November and was planning to order another 3.5 million doses, also from Green Cross.
The government has set aside 193 billion won ($155 million) to secure H1N1 vaccine supplies for 13 million people, or 27 percent of the South Korean population. [ID:nSEO293894]
China’s Xinhua news agency said last week that Mexico’s government planned to buy 10 million doses of vaccine from China. Sinovac Biotech Ltd, the first company worldwide to complete clinical trials for a vaccine to treat the new strain of H1N1, known as swine flu, has said a single dose of its vaccine is effective and sufficient. [ID:nLI544899]
American Stock Exchange-listed Sinovac said on Monday it expected the Chinese government to approve the vaccine this week, after it got the go-ahead from a panel of experts organised by the State Food and Drug Administration, sending its shares soaring nearly 54 percent. ($1=1246.7 Won) (Editing by Marie-France Han and Ian Geoghegan)