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.
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