Biopharma manufacturing must continually evolve to keep up with the advancements in science when it comes to treating illnesses. Companies like Samsung Biologics, a leading CDMO, learned from the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic that advancement in technology and sustainability is necessary to continue to meet the needs of patients and the medical industry.
At the 2022 JP Morgan Conference, Samsung Biologics announced plans to expand in the coming years, with the beginning of construction of a new plant, as well as the completion of Plant 4, the company’s latest location, in Incheon, South Korea. “Through proactive investment in increasing our manufacturing capacity, enhancing portfolio diversification, and expanding facilities overseas, Samsung Biologics will be able to accelerate the buildup of its core success drivers as the next growth engine of the industry,” said CEO John Rim.
These announcements come on the heels of a successful year of expansion, new partners, and revenue in 2021. Samsung Biologics made many decisions to join the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry in its push to further research and development of COVID-19 therapies, treatments, and vaccines.
“We need to provide fast, agile service to our clients so they can be fast to market,” Rim said in an interview. “We’ve actually reduced the time to market for tech transfers for our clients quite rapidly. Historically, I think it was six to nine months; now it’s three to four months.”
Plant 5, which is currently in the planning stages, will offer cell and gene therapies, as well as vaccines that rely on mRNA, pDNA, and viral vectors. In 2021, Samsung Biologics won the award for Best Vaccine CMO of the Year at the Asia-Pacific Vaccine Excellence Awards 2021 from Impactful Connections and Intelligence (IMAPAC).
Samsung Biologics has already expanded its business portfolio and manufacturing capacity as part of its long-term growth plan in order to fulfill the increasing demand in the biotechnology industry. According to the company, the CDMO will be able to supply biopharmaceutical companies with full-cycle mRNA vaccine production services, beginning with bulk medicinal ingredients and going through aseptic fill/finish, labeling, and packaging, as well as cold chain storage, by the first half of 2022.
The company is also looking forward to opening several new locations worldwide, and in January 2022 it announced an agreement with Biogen for the buyout of Biogen’s stake in the Samsung Bioepis joint venture. The buyout is expected to accelerate biosimilar development capabilities and future performance in novel drug development.
“The strategic road map and milestones outlined today illustrate the key success drivers for our growth this year as well as lay a strong groundwork for sustainable growth opportunities ahead of us,” Rim said at the January conference. “With our continued investment in capacity, portfolio, and global footprint, we will evolve as the top biopharmaceutical company and offer diversified services as the next growth engine of the industry.”
Continuing to Build Plant 4
Construction on Plant 4, also known as the Super Plant, began in November 2020 in Incheon, South Korea, the city where the company’s headquarters are situated. The plant will be partially operational in Q4 2022. The facility will be the world’s largest biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility when it is done. It will have a total building area of 238,000 square meters and a total manufacturing capacity of 256,000 liters when it is completed.
A contract development(CDO) lab, a quality control (QC) lab, as well as cold and freezer storage, will be accessible within the site as well. These storage options are very advantageous in the handling and storage of COVID-19 vaccines, which must be maintained at certain temperatures throughout their production and manufacturing process.
Many of Samsung Biologics’ partners have a vested interest in the development of mRNA therapies and vaccines. In May 2021, Samsung Biologics announced a collaboration with Moderna, one of the manufacturers of mRNA-1273, a highly efficient two-dose mRNA vaccination for COVID-19. Approximately 150 million Moderna doses have been delivered in the United States alone, according to the company.
In November 2021, Samsung Biologics announced a new relationship with GreenLight Biosciences, a biotechnology business that specializes in the production of RNA products, as well as with the Environmental Impact Acquisition Corporation. Samsung Biologics will produce the messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by GreenLight.