South Korea, Moderna in plant talks

Sangmi Cha
·1-min read

South Korea and COVID-19 vaccine maker Moderna are in discussions over a $US200 million ($A263 million) investment by the US drugmaker in the country to build a factory, as it seeks to expand in Asia.

Former Minister of SMEs and Startups Park Young-sun, who stepped down in January to run for Seoul mayor, made the comments in an interview with The Asia Business Daily on Friday.

She also said Moderna was highly interested in the Asian market, according to the report.

Her campaign official confirmed the report to Reuters. Moderna did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"Moderna has expressed its interest to invest $US200 million ... and I'll continue to participate in the discussion for a while, as I had held talks with them as a minister," Park, was quoted as saying.

The campaign official also said the factory will likely be built in the capital Seoul.

She had her last video conference with Moderna on the day she left the office and the two sides were scheduled to hold a meeting next week, Park said.

The report follows a deal announced by South Korea in December to purchase 40 million doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine after President Moon Jae-in held an online meeting with the US firm's CEO Stephane Bancel.

Mutual trust has further built up since the December meeting and Bancel had visited South Korea around 40 times, as he is greatly interested in the country's young manpower, Park told the newspaper.