John Rim, Samsung Biologics CEO

Af­ter a ban­ner year, Sam­sung will charge for­ward with 'su­per plan­t' plans, and look to ex­pand abroad

Sam­sung Bi­o­log­ics’ fu­ture plans in­volve a lot of big, im­por­tant, ex­pen­sive build­ings. And now, the com­pa­ny re­vealed in its Q4 earn­ings meet­ing, sev­er­al of those ex­pen­sive build­ings, part of a mas­sive “su­per plant,” will fea­ture a heavy em­pha­sis on mR­NA, as the suc­cess and de­mand for Covid-19 vac­cines con­tin­ue to pay off.

Plant 5, the most re­cent­ly an­nounced build­ing of its $2 bil­lion “su­per plant,” will fea­ture mul­ti-modal mR­NA, pDNA and vi­ral vec­tor prod­uct ser­vices, in ad­di­tion to cell and gene ther­a­pies. That will be in ad­di­tion to a vac­cine drug sub­stance man­u­fac­tur­ing suite that’s ex­pect­ed to be ready to go at the al­ready-erect­ed fa­cil­i­ties in Song­do with­in the “ear­li­er part of this year,” Sam­sung said.

Sam­sung made waves in No­vem­ber when it un­veiled its plans for a fifth man­u­fac­tur­ing build­ing at its Song­do, In­cheon, South Ko­rea site at the end of 2021. The an­nounce­ment came fol­low­ing the ap­proval to pur­chase 32,808 square feet in the city, and the price tag for con­struc­tion will sit around $259 mil­lion.

“The mR­NA DS plant will achieve cGMP readi­ness by the sec­ond quar­ter, and we will break ground for the con­struc­tion of the mul­ti modal plant, or P5, with­in this year in or­der to ex­pand the busi­ness port­fo­lio,” CEO John Rim said through a trans­la­tor in a video re­cap­ping the JP Mor­gan Con­fer­ence ear­li­er this month.

It seems to on­ly make sense that an em­pha­sis has been placed on mR­NA, as the suc­cess of the mol­e­cule has been a large rea­son for the growth of the CD­MO in­dus­try, with Sam­sung in­clud­ed. The com­pa­ny inked a deal with Mod­er­na for fill and fin­ish ser­vices for Covid-19 vac­cines, and an­oth­er with Green­light Bio­science in De­cem­ber to pro­duce vac­cine sub­stances. The re­sult: $371.3 mil­lion in rev­enue.

In a CPhI re­port pub­lished around the time of the con­fer­ence in Italy in No­vem­ber, Sam­sung Bi­o­log­ics was named among the top five drug man­u­fac­tur­ers out there, with near­ly half of all ca­pac­i­ty ex­pect­ed to shift from in-house man­u­fac­tur­ing to CMOs and hy­brid com­pa­nies by 2025. Sam­sung, along with Lon­za, WuXi and Fu­ji­film Diosynth Biotech­nolo­gies, will have the largest ca­pac­i­ty vol­ume, the study found.

Sam­sung is al­so se­cur­ing ad­di­tion­al land in Song­do for fu­ture plants and an open in­no­va­tion cen­ter, in ad­di­tion to lo­ca­tions over­seas to max­i­mize its large-scale bi­o­log­ics man­u­fac­tur­ing and be clos­er to its clients. Right now, its on­ly glob­al site is an R&D lo­ca­tion in San Fran­cis­co. It all aligns with the three core pil­lars of the growth plan, iden­ti­fied at the JP Mor­gan con­fer­ence: in­creas­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pac­i­ty, en­hanc­ing the di­ver­si­ty of the port­fo­lio and ex­pand­ing its foot­print abroad.

In a state­ment, Rim said:

With a steep in­crease in de­mand for med­i­cines due to the pro­longed COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, there was a great need for CD­MO ca­pa­bil­i­ties around the world to en­sure a re­li­able sup­ply of high-qual­i­ty bi­o­log­i­cal prod­ucts. By suc­cess­ful­ly man­ag­ing all po­ten­tial im­pact from the pan­dem­ic with strong busi­ness con­ti­nu­ity and op­er­a­tional ex­cel­lence, Sam­sung Bi­o­log­ics achieved sol­id growth and in­creased sales in an ex­tra­or­di­nary year and made mean­ing­ful progress in build­ing mo­men­tum around our long-term busi­ness and ca­pac­i­ty.

Ed­i­tor’s Note: For more news and ex­clu­sive cov­er­age from the man­u­fac­tur­ing beat, sub­scribe to the End­points Man­u­fac­tur­ing week­ly re­port in your read­er pro­file.

Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News

How Pur­due's $272M ad­dic­tion pay­out fund­ed a new home for its dis­card­ed non-opi­oid re­search

Don Kyle spent more than 20 years working for Purdue Pharma, right through the US opioid epidemic that led to the company’s rise and eventual infamy. But contrary to Purdue’s focus on OxyContin, Kyle was researching non-opioid painkillers — that is, until the company shelved his research.

As the company’s legal troubles mounted, Kyle found an unlikely way to reboot the project. In 2019, he took his work to an Oklahoma State University center that’s slated to receive more than two-thirds of the state’s $272 million settlement with Purdue over claims that the drugmaker’s behavior ignited the epidemic of opioid use and abuse.

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Utpal Koppikar, new Verily CFO

Ex­clu­sive: Ver­i­ly wel­comes Atara Bio­ther­a­peu­tics vet­er­an as new CFO

Verily, Alphabet’s life sciences outfit, has plucked a new CFO from the ranks of Atara Biotherapeutics, the company announced on Wednesday.

Utpal Koppikar joins Verily after a nearly five-year stint as CFO and senior VP at Atara, though his résumé also boasts roles at Gilead and Amgen.

The news follows a major reshuffling at Verily, including several senior departures earlier this year and a round of layoffs.

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President Joe Biden at the State of the Union address with Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Patrick Semansky/AP Images)

The drug pric­ing pres­i­dent: Biden warns of ve­to for any IRA re­peal at­tempts

President Joe Biden made clear in his “finish the job” State of the Union address last night that one of those jobs to be finished is insulin prices.

Biden’s push again to tackle insulin prices, after Republicans rebuffed the idea last summer and just after Biden won Medicare drug price negotiations/caps via the Inflation Reduction Act, shows how heavily he’s leaning into this work.

Singer Nick Jonas is back at work for Dexcom, this time for its new G7 glucose monitor.

Dex­com's spokescelebri­ty Nick Jonas re­turns to Su­per Bowl in new glu­cose mon­i­tor com­mer­cial

Dexcom is going back to the Super Bowl with its pop singer and patient spokesperson Nick Jonas. Jonas takes center stage as the lone figure in the 30-second commercial showcasing Dexcom’s next-generation G7 continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device.

Jonas’ sleight-of-hand tricks populate the commercial — he pinches his empty fingers together and pops them open to reveal the small CGM — even as he ends the ad, saying, “It’s not magic. It just feels that way.” Jonas then disappears in a puff of smoke.

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Richard Francis, newly-appointed Teva CEO (Novartis via Facebook)

New Te­va CEO Richard Fran­cis repri­or­i­tizes to 'get back to growth'

Six weeks into his new role at the helm of Teva Pharmaceutical, Richard Francis said it’s time to “get back to growth,” starting with a good look at the company’s priorities.

The chief executive has kicked off a strategic review, he announced during Teva’s quarterly call, which will continue over the next several months and produce results sometime in the middle of 2023. That means some pipeline cuts may be in store, he told Endpoints News, while declining to offer much more detail.

Rupert Vessey, Bristol Myers Squibb head of research and early development

Up­dat­ed: R&D tur­bu­lence at Bris­tol My­ers now in­cludes the end of a $650M al­liance and the de­par­ture of a top re­search cham­pi­on

This morning biotech Dragonfly put out word that Bristol Myers Squibb has handed back all rights to its IL-12 clinical-stage drug after spending $650 million to advance it into the clinic.

The news arrives amid a turbulent R&D stage for the pharma giant, which late last week highlighted Rupert Vessey’s decision to depart this summer as head of early-stage R&D following a crucial three-year stretch after he jumped to Bristol Myers in the big Celgene buyout. During that time he struck a series of deals for Bristol Myers, and also shepherded a number of Celgene programs down the pipeline, playing a major role for a lineup of biotechs which depended on him to champion their drugs.

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Sanofi is renewing its #VaccinesForDreams campaign with more stories, such as Juan's in Argentina (Sanofi)

Sanofi re­news so­cial cam­paign to re­mind that vac­cines let peo­ple ‘Dream Big’

Sanofi is highlighting people’s dreams — both big and small — to make the point that vaccines make them possible.

The renewed “Dream Big” global social media campaign’s newest dreamer is Juan, a teacher in the Misiones rainforest in Argentina whose story is told through videos on Instagram and Sanofi’s website with the hashtag #VaccinesForDreams.

The campaign ties to Sanofi’s broader umbrella initiative “Vaccine Stories” to promote the value of vaccines and drive awareness of the need for improved vaccination coverage.

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Bill Anderson, incoming Bayer CEO (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Bay­er taps Roche's Bill An­der­son to lead phar­ma gi­ant as CEO

We now know where Roche’s ex-pharma chief Bill Anderson is going.

German pharma giant Bayer announced Wednesday that Anderson will be taking on the role as CEO, less than six weeks after Anderson stepped down from his perch at Roche as head of the group’s pharmaceutical division.

Roche announced back in December that Anderson would depart on Dec. 31 to “pursue opportunities outside of Roche.” His replacement, Genentech vet and Roche’s current head of global product strategy, Teresa Graham, will start her role in March.

Iya Khalil, Merck VP and head of data, AI and genome sciences (Novartis)

Mer­ck-No­var­tis re­volv­ing door spins again as AI leader Iya Khalil switch­es phar­mas

As talk of AI this-and-that gobbles up headline after headline, one Big Pharma is losing its AI leader as she transitions to another drug giant: Iya Khalil will trade in her hat as Novartis’ go-to expert and leader in the space for Merck as VP and head of data, AI and genome sciences next week.

After nearly three years leading the artificial intelligence team at Novartis — as Big Pharma and biotechs alike latch onto the ripening AI-for-drug-discovery mode of operation — Khalil will switch employers to head up a similar post at Merck, where she’ll work out of Cambridge, MA beginning Feb. 13, the company tells Endpoints News.