The original facility at the site in Songdo, South Korea, has a mammalian cell culture capacity of 30,000L – six bioreactors of 5,000L – and a second plant set to go online early next year will add 150,000L more (ten bioreactors of 15,000L).
But now Samsung says it intends to double the capacity through a third facility at the site through an investment of 850bn Korean won ($740m).
“Our new facility, which will be completed by September 2018, will have 180,000L of capacity for mammalian cell culture in the biopharmaceutical industry,” spokesman Changsik Park told this publication.
He added the firm currently has 1,000 staff but a further 700 will be employed, representing the rapid growth of the company’s biomanufacturing footprint.
The contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO) manufactures biologic products for Swiss firm Roche and Bristol-Myers Squibb from the site.
The firm signed a ten-year contract to manufacture the latter’s monoclonal antibody cancer drug Yervoy in 2013, and the following year extended the agreement to make several other unnamed biologics from the Songdo, Incheon site.
The CDMO has also said it intends to offer biologics manufacturing to other customers, and this expansion should open up the capacity.
The site, once fully online, will have a capacity of 360,0000L making it one of the largest bioprocessing sites in the world.
Fellow Korean CDMO and biosimilar developer Celltrion has 140,000L of capacity at its Incheon site, but has planned a further 90,000L, while Swiss CDMO Lonza, has around 105,000L of capacity at its mammalian Portsmouth, New Hampshire site.
But the added capacity is unlikely to support the manufacture of Benepali, a biosimilar version of Amgen’s Enbrel (etanercept) being developed by Samsung Biologics’ joint venture with Biogen, Samsung Bioepis.
The JV has said it will use Biogen’s Hillerød, Denmark firm for the commercial manufacture – a 90,000L capacity stainless steel site which also makes Biogen’s own range of biopharmaceuticals, including Tysabri and Avonex.