Samsung Biologics: ‘Our next decade will be marked by increased expansion and portfolio diversification’

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Samsung biologics

Samsung Biologics is aiming to become ‘a full-service biopharmaceutical company’: creating a greater global footprint for its CDMO business, continuing to advance its biosimilars business, and laying the groundwork for novel drug development.

Speaking at the 29th​ annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference yesterday, John Rim – who took on the reins as CEO last month – unveiled the South Korean company's growth plans.

In 2021 it will speed up construction of its Plant 4 ‘super plant’, while it is also working to secure manufacturing facilities overseas.

Existing plants nearing capacity

Samsung Biologics' work spans across development, manufacturing and laboratory testing services for biopharmaceutical products. In 2020 it signed $1.7bn in CMO contracts – a record-breaking figure – and opening the company’s first overseas CDO R&D center in San Francisco.

The company's biggest project for 2021 will be to accelerate construction of Plant 4, said Rim. The ‘super plant’ is set to be the world’s largest bio-manufacturing facility, and the company is focusing on getting the plant operational as soon as possible, given that its other plants are expected to near capacity this year.

Located in Incheon, the multi-story 238,000-square-meter construction will boast 256,000 liters total manufacturing capacity. Upon completion the plant, it is set to become accountable for a third of the total global bio-CMO manufacturing capacity.

samsung biologics JPM
John Rim at the virtual JPM conference

Plant 4 will also have a focus on flexibility: with a line-up of bioreactors ranging from 2,000-liters to 15,000-liters. The Super Plant will provide a full range of CDO, CMO, and CRO processes for a ‘one-stop’ service, including early-stage development capabilities and large-scale commercial manufacturing with integrated aseptic fill/finish capabilities and a full QC Lab for testing services.

Samsung Biologics broke ground on the site in November. With a modular design, parts of the plant will be ready to begin operations in advance of a full opening scheduled for 2023.

Rim also outlined the company’s goal to secure manufacturing facilities overseas. He noted that product diversification from mAb/fusion protein manufacturing to encompass future modalities such as vaccines and cell-gene therapies are also being studied, and the company is further venturing into new business models for its growth roadmap.

“The strategic investments and portfolio diversification outlined today signify the momentum in our business, as well as lay the foundation for the long-term growth opportunity ahead of us,” ​Rim said.

“We will look beyond the next decade and evolve as the global top-tier biopharmaceutical company by securing future growth engines with continued investment and expansion in capacity, portfolio, and global footprint.”

Samsung Biologics: some of 2020's highlights

  • Announced strategic manufacturing partnership with Lilly to advance delivery of COVID-19 antibody treatments 
  • Expanded long-term manufacturing partnership with Checkpoint Therapeutics on Checkpoint’s anti-PD-L1 antibody, cosibelimab: with additional commercial-scale drug substance manufacturing starting this year. 
  • Established partnership with China Biotech GeneQuantum Healthcare to collaborate on ADC development
  • Opened new San Francisco CDO R&D Center
  • Announced long-term supply agreement with AstraZeneca, providing large-scale commercial manufacturing for drug substance in Plant 3 as well as drug product to support AstraZeneca’s biologics therapeutics.
  • Partnership to provide GSK with additional capacity to manufacture and supply GSK’s biopharmaceutical therapies: initially covering commercial production of Benlysta (belimumab).
  • Strategic partnership with Kanaph Therapeutics to develop KNP-301, a bi-specific Fc fusion protein intended to treat retinal diseases.

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