Korean contract manufacturing organisation (CMO) Samsung BioLogics jumped into development services last year, in an effort to become a one-stop services provider for biopharma firms.
Clients have access to process and analytical development on top of cGMP production. However, while Samsung BioLogics currently licenses MilliporeSigma’s CHO (Chinese Hamster Ovary) mammalian cell expression system, CHOZN GS, the firm is looking to develop its own cell line in-house.
“Starting from next year, we are actually developing our own proprietary cell line platform so that it is going to be ready for our clients starting from 2019,” Yeni Choi, senior specialist on Samsung BioLogics’ Global BD team, told Biopharma-Reporter during a recent site visit.
“Samsung is using the CHOZN platform right now and [the new platform] should be better,” she said, without revealing specifics. “It is going to be CHO cell based, and it’s going to have at least 3g/L titre or higher because CHOZN has around 3g/L titre.”
Licensing vs in-house
German Merck’s MilliporeSigma has a strategic alliance with the CDMO, supplying the firm single-use systems, cell culture media and chromatography technologies, on top of the CHOZN cell line licensing deal.
According to Samsung BioLogics’ CEO TH Kim, the move to develop an in-house cell line does not jeopardise this partnership but rather fits in with the CDMO’s competitive objective.
“Merck has a very competitive cell line and also we are working with them as they have a lot of media, technology and so on. In that sense, we have a development partnership with Merck,” he told this reporter.
“But on the other side we have freedom to develop our own cell lines, so we have been developing our own cell line which can provide a higher titre, productivity and lead to better competitiveness.”
He described the position as “a competition between partnership and in-house development,” and remained flexible about moving between the two.
“They should compete with each other for improvement. If a partner offers a very competitive cell line then of course we can license in. I’m very open to in-house development, versus partnership, versus M&A or licensing in.”
He added these choices were just methodologies, or tools, and not objectives.
“My objective is to secure very high quality, very competitive cell lines and process development technologies so I can provide more competitive development services for my clients.”