Samsung Biologics, the largest contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) by capacity in the world, recently announced that its fifth biomanufacturing plant will be completed in April 2025. Work on the plant, part of a larger second Bio Campus currently under construction, is now five months ahead of schedule.
“We’re constantly looking for ways to advance the overall construction and engineering schedule by seeing where we can do things in parallel,” said James Choi, executive vice president, chief marketing officer, and head of global affairs at Samsung Biologics, in a recent interview with BioPharma Reporter.
“Whatever ultimately doesn’t impact the quality of the product we see as an opportunity to optimize.”
Increasing CDMO Demand
At the Bio International 2023 conference, Samsung Biologics president and CEO John Rim explained the company’s plans for Plant 5 in terms of the rising biomanufacturing demand.
“This decision reflects the company’s proactive approach to meet the increasing demand for CDMO services and accommodate new customer contracts,” he said.
Samsung Biologics’ 2023 contracts include a $897 million deal with Pfizer to produce biosimilars. This partnership will utilize Samsung Biologics’ fourth plant, which became fully operational in June and is the largest facility of its kind at 240,000 liters of capacity.
Other contracts this year include agreements for $177 million with Eli Lilly, for $27 million with GSK, and a $11 million arrangement with Roche. According to its most recent earnings report, Samsung Biologics has a sales backlog of over 2 trillion Korean won ($1.5 billion). To date, the CDMO has secured over 230 regulatory approvals.
The company’s revenue has consistently grown in recent years as more companies look to outsource manufacturing and focus their internal resources on biopharmaceutical research and development. In the recent earnings report, released in June, Samsung Biologics listed net revenue gains of 33%.
Based on this growth trajectory, the company has continued to expand its facilities. The construction of Plant 5, coming immediately on the heels of Plant 4, is the latest step in the company’s strategy.
“Our consistent delivery of quality service and operational excellence, coupled with our expanded strategic partnerships with top global pharmaceutical companies, have been pivotal in driving stable revenue growth,” said Rim in a statement on the company’s earnings report.
“With the full completion of Bio Campus 1 offering 604,000 liters of capacity and our Bio Campus 2 expansion with Plant 5 on track to come on line by April 2025, we are well positioned to meet the growing demands of the market.”
Samsung Biologics’ Next Steps
The CDMO’s investment in Plant 5 is set to total roughly 1.9 trillion Korean won. When the plant is completed, Samsung Biologics will have a total of 784,000 liters of capacity, the most in the industry.
“We wouldn’t be committed to building out capacity unless we were confident that there was solid demand, and Plant 4 has been very active in terms of clients partnering with us to secure supply of their products,” explained Choi.
“We see a healthy demand still in the market, primarily being driven by the increasing need for therapeutics and the continuous advancements in monoclonal antibodies and antibody-drug conjugates,” he continued.
“Getting a product to market quickly entails tech transfer, manufacturing capability, and doing it right the first time, but also building out the capacity with our plant construction so that clients can count on that scale being there when they need it, as they start planning out their long-range supply requirements.”
Samsung Biologics’ strategy moving forward is to take a proactive approach to meeting market demands in an increasingly competitive field. Currently the largest CDMO in terms of capacity for drug manufacturing, it’s also taking steps to diversify its portfolio as the market for biopharmaceuticals grows.
Recent investments include an end-to-end mRNA vaccine production facility and a full ownership stake in the biosimilars firm Samsung Bioepis, which it founded with Biogen in 2012.
In conjunction with Samsung C&T, the company has also recently invested in Senda Biosciences, which is developing nanoparticle technology used to program living cells, and Jaguar Gene Therapy, which works in the emerging cell and gene therapy space.
Samsung Biologics also opened an office in New Jersey in March, a move intended to bolster connections with U.S. and European clients.
Collectively, this flurry of activity signals the company’s expectations of continued growth and a steady stream of new contracts, and it’s quickly building the facilities to accommodate those goals.
“By introducing the speed and innovation that we have, I think Samsung [Biologics] has really disrupted the market in a positive way,” said Choi.
“Until now, if you were to tell someone that we can construct a plant and have 180,000 liter capacity within 24 months, they would be understandably skeptical. But we have proven that over and over again.”