The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) today hosted the 2022 award ceremony for the IVI-SK bioscience Park MahnHoon Prize, in honor of Dr. Tore Godal, Special Advisor for Global Health to the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services and Advisor to the Coalition for Pandemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI), and Professors Drew Weissman and Katalin Karikó of the University of Pennsylvania as co-recipients.
Attending the inaugural award ceremony at the IVI headquarters in Seoul were Dr. Tore Godal, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, IVI Director General Dr. Jerome Kim , CTO Hun Kim of SK bioscience, HE Frode Solberg, Norwegian Ambassador to the Republic of Korea and Hungarian Ambassador to Korea. Mr. George Bickerstaff, Chairman of the Board of the IVI, congratulated the winners in a video speech, while the professors. Weissman and Karikó also joined the ceremony virtually by sending pre-recorded video messages. The ceremony was followed by the Awards Forum, which included talks from the three winners about their work and achievements.
“The guiding spirit of the IVI Award is to recognize pioneering efforts to advance the research, development and delivery of vaccines for global health. We have recently witnessed the incredible power of innovation through the development of new COVID-19 vaccines at record speed,” Ban Ki-moon said in his congratulatory speech. about your monumental achievements in this critical area. You are the champions of innovation in global immunization and vaccine science. You have made a disproportionate difference to global public health by saving and improving countless lives.
Dr Godal was founding CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance from 1999 to 2004, leading the alliance’s foundation, which enabled low-income countries to vaccinate 888 million children from 2000 to 2020. WHO and UNICEF estimate that Gavi has helped save over 15 million lives. He is currently an advisor to CEPI, which he helped found, continuing its efforts to accelerate the development and delivery of vaccines.
“I am truly humbled and honored to receive the inaugural IVI-SK bioscience Park MahnHoon Award,” said Dr. Godal. “IVI is one of the great innovations in global health and Dr. Park MahnHoon was an innovator who helped make South Korea with SK bioscience one of the leading countries in the development and manufacturing of vaccines that are so needed in this pandemic-prone world.”
Professor Drew Weissman, a physician and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, was cited for his contributions to RNA biology and COVID-19 vaccines. He and his colleague, Professor Katalin Karikó, jointly invented the modified mRNA technology used in vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna to prevent COVID-19. teachers. Weissman and Karikó, biochemist and senior vice president of BioNTech and adjunct professor of neurosurgery at the University of Pennsylvania, discovered a way to modify mRNA and then developed a delivery technique to package mRNA into droplets of fat (called lipid nanoparticles), which allows mRNA to trigger the body’s immune system to fight disease. This innovation made mRNA safe, effective, and convenient to use, laying the foundation for the two SARS-CoV-2 vaccines that led the global fight against the pandemic virus.
“I would like to thank the organizers for awarding the prestigious prize to Professor Katalin Karikó and myself. This is the first IVI-SK bioscience Park MahnHoon award and I hope we set a good example,” said Professor Drew Weissman. “I also hope that we can help mRNA vaccines develop further in various areas, including gene therapy for cancer, other than coronavirus vaccines.”
“I am delighted and deeply honored to become the first recipient of the IVI-SK bioscience Park MahnHoon Award. The success of mRNA vaccine technology demonstrates the power of innovation and the importance of persistence,” said Professor Karikó. As a scientist, “I have dedicated my entire career to developing mRNA for therapy. I am extremely happy that the technology I helped make possible is now saving millions of lives and having even more ‘applications for the future.’
“IVI is privileged to recognize and congratulate the three winners who have made extraordinary contributions to global immunization and vaccine development,” said Dr. Jerome Kim, IVI Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the Awards Selection Committee. . “Commemorating the 25th anniversary this year as the world’s only international organization dedicated to the development of vaccines for global health, the IVI will continue to identify and recognize vaccine pioneers and innovators to advance the science of vaccines and global health, building on the legacy of the late Dr. Park MahnHoon in collaboration with SK bioscience.
Hun Kim, CTO of SK bioscience, said, “I express my deepest gratitude to those who have dedicated their lives to protecting global public health. As a researcher who has spent more time with Dr. Park than anyone else, I will try to ensure that his vision, passion and enthusiasm will be passed on to younger colleagues to bear fruit.
The IVI-SK bioscience Park MahnHoon Award annually honors up to two individuals and international organizations who have made extraordinary contributions to the discovery, development and delivery of vaccines and the advancement of global health. The award was launched to commemorate the legacy of the late Vice President, Dr. Park MahnHoon of SK bioscience. SK bioscience helps fund two annual awards of 100 million Korean won (approximately US$85,000) to IVI for awards.
About the International Vaccine Institute (IVI)
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is an intergovernmental non-profit organization created in 1997 at the initiative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). IVI has 38 countries and the World Health Organization (WHO) on its treaty, including the Republic of Korea, Sweden, India and Finland as public funders.
Our mandate is to make vaccines available and accessible to 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 streptococcus, hepatitis A, HPV, tuberculosis , HIV, MERS, COVID-19, as well as antimicrobial resistance. For more information, please visit https://www.ivi.int.
About Dr. Park MahnHoon, the late former Vice President of SK bioscience
Dr. Park MahnHoon (1957-2021) was a pioneer of cell culture-based vaccines in South Korea who made important contributions to vaccines for global health. Dr. Park is credited with elevating South Korea’s vaccine R&D capabilities to a global level while leading the company’s vaccine projects, including the joint development of an innovative pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) with SANOFI-Pasteur, and the development of a new typhoid conjugate vaccine in collaboration with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Once licensed, these vaccines are expected to have a significant impact on improving the health of people around the world, including in low- and middle-income countries. As a vaccine industry visionary, Dr. Park played a pivotal role in the development and commercialization of the world’s first cell culture-based influenza vaccine (2015), as well as the development of a vaccine against pneumococcus (2016) and the second shingles vaccine in the world. (2017). The core technologies of SK bioscience’s own COVID-19 vaccine candidate, GBP510 and CMO production of COVID-19 vaccines developed by global biopharmaceutical companies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are largely derived from vaccine technology based on cell culture established by Dr. Park.
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