John Rim, Samsung Biologics CEO

Amidst large in­vest­ment from par­ent com­pa­ny, Sam­sung Bi­o­log­ics seeks to ramp up biotech fund­ing

Dur­ing End­points News’ time in San Diego for #BIO22, it was hard to miss all the Sam­sung Bi­o­log­ics signs plas­tered along­side the high­way to the air­port, adorn­ing near­ly every lamp post. How­ev­er, ad­ver­tis­ing is not the on­ly place where Sam­sung is look­ing to spend.

Last month, it was re­port­ed that South Ko­rea’s Sam­sung Group raised spend­ing by more than 30% to KRW 450 tril­lion, or around $360 bil­lion, to in­vest in sev­er­al lines of busi­ness in­clud­ing elec­tron­ics and biotech, among oth­ers. Sam­sung Bi­o­log­ics CEO John Rim spoke to End­points at #BIO22 to dis­cuss how this in­vest­ment will af­fect the biotech arms of one of South Ko­rea’s largest con­glom­er­ates.

Rim said that a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of that mon­ey will be in­vest­ed in­to biotech, but a hard fig­ure was not giv­en to End­points. Rim did in­di­cate that the com­pa­ny is build­ing out a plat­form that will be com­plet­ed around Oc­to­ber, with it com­ing ful­ly on­line next year on the back of the in­vest­ment.

Al­so, the com­pa­ny is in the process of pur­chas­ing ad­di­tion­al land, dubbed Bio Cam­pus Two, which will be ad­ja­cent to their cur­rent 60-acre cam­pus in Song­do, South Ko­rea. Rim said their cur­rent cam­pus is now ful­ly oc­cu­pied and is now in need of ex­pan­sion. This new cam­pus will be planned to be ful­ly staffed with­in the next 10 years and be 30% larg­er, Rim said. Ac­cord­ing to a reg­u­la­to­ry fil­ing, the com­pa­ny will spend around KRW 426 Bil­lion, or $347 mil­lion, to ac­quire the land for the new 80-acre cam­pus.

While Sam­sung Bi­o­log­ics is al­so build­ing out an­oth­er plant in Song­do, la­beled as a ‘su­per plant’ with a $2 bil­lion price tag, Rim said that the in­vest­ment will al­so build out two more man­u­fac­tur­ing plants to bring their to­tal to six.

Rim did not share any specifics on the size or cost of the pro­posed plants, but said the idea is to have sim­i­lar-sized fa­cil­i­ties to what they have now. Rim said they are fac­ing a very ro­bust client de­mand, and the com­pa­ny will look for the right time for an of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment on their de­vel­op­ment. The com­pa­ny will al­so look to in­vest in ad­di­tion­al fa­cil­i­ties re­lat­ed to CDO, gene ther­a­py and mR­NA pro­duc­tion.

Rim said that the com­pa­ny will not on­ly be look­ing at large-scale pro­duc­tion but open in­no­va­tion and mul­ti-modal prod­ucts as well.

“The Sam­sung Group has said biotech­nol­o­gy will be the sec­ond arm of growth be­yond Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics. So, there’s a huge amount of fo­cus and at­ten­tion around that area. And Ko­rea is fo­cused on biotech­nol­o­gy be­cause they see that as an on­go­ing growth in­dus­try,” Rim said.

As to why the Sam­sung Group sees this as a greater in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ty, Rim pre­sent­ed sev­er­al fac­tors, such as im­prov­ing tech­nol­o­gy, an ag­ing pop­u­la­tion and a con­tin­ued in­crease in GDP over time.

How­ev­er, this in­vest­ment comes at a time when oth­er South Ko­re­an con­glom­er­ates are al­so throw­ing their weight around in biotech man­u­fac­tur­ing. In May, the Lotte Group ac­quired a drug man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ty from Bris­tol My­ers Squibb in Syra­cuse, NY.

Rim said bud­ding com­pe­ti­tion from oth­er con­glom­er­ates is a good thing as it speaks to the rapid­ly grow­ing in­ter­est in biotech in Ko­rea. As for fu­ture ac­qui­si­tions in the US, Rim said that while noth­ing is con­firmed, the com­pa­ny will be keep­ing its eye out for fu­ture tar­gets to ac­quire.

This in­jec­tion is ul­ti­mate­ly set­ting Sam­sung Bi­o­log­ics on a ma­jor build­ing spree, with deep in­vest­ments in­to man­u­fac­tur­ing and oth­er biotech op­er­a­tions.

Has the mo­ment fi­nal­ly ar­rived for val­ue-based health­care?

RBC Capital Markets’ Healthcare Technology Analyst, Sean Dodge, spotlights a new breed of tech-enabled providers who are rapidly transforming the way clinicians deliver healthcare, and explores the key question: can this accelerating revolution overturn the US healthcare system?

Key points

Tech-enabled healthcare providers are poised to help the US transition to value, not volume, as the basis for reward.
The move to value-based care has policy momentum, but is risky and complex for clinicians.
Outsourced tech specialists are emerging to provide the required expertise, while healthcare and tech are also converging through M&A.
Value-based care remains in its early stages, but the transition is accelerating and represents a huge addressable market.

FDA ad­vi­sors unan­i­mous­ly rec­om­mend ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval for Bio­gen's ALS drug

A panel of outside advisors to the FDA unanimously recommended that the agency grant accelerated approval to Biogen’s ALS drug tofersen despite the drug failing the primary goal of its Phase III study, an endorsement that could pave a path forward for the treatment.

By a 9-0 vote, members of the Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee said there was sufficient evidence that tofersen’s effect on a certain protein associated with ALS is reasonably likely to predict a benefit for patients. But panelists stopped short of advocating for a full approval, voting 3-5 against (with one abstention) and largely citing the failed pivotal study.

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Alaa Halawa, executive director at Mubadala’s US venture group

The ven­ture crew at Mubadala are up­ping their biotech cre­ation game, tak­ing care­ful aim at a new fron­tier in drug de­vel­op­ment

It started with a cup of coffee and a slow burning desire to go early and long in the biotech creation business.

Wrapping up a 15-year discovery stint at Genentech back in the summer of 2021, Rami Hannoush was treated to a caffeine-fueled review of the latest work UCSF’s Jim Wells had been doing on protein degradation — one of the hottest fields in drug development.

“Jim and I have known each other for the past 15 years through Genentech collaborations. We met over coffee, and he was telling me about this concept of the company that he was thinking of,” says Hannoush. “And I got immediately intrigued by it because I knew that this could open up a big space in terms of adding a new modality in drug discovery that is desperately needed in pharma.”

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Genen­tech to stop com­mer­cial man­u­fac­tur­ing at Cal­i­for­nia head­quar­ters

Genentech is halting commercial manufacturing at its California headquarters — and laying off several hundred employees.

The move is the result of a decision Genentech made in 2007 to relocate manufacturing operations from its South San Francisco headquarters location to other facilities or move the work to CDMOs, said Andi Goddard, Genentech’s SVP of quality and compliance for pharmaceutical technical operations, in an interview with Endpoints News. Genentech has made changes in capabilities and invested more in technology, so it doesn’t need as many large-scale manufacturing facilities as it did in the past, she said.

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Sanofi, Re­gen­eron boast PhI­II win with Dupix­ent in COPD, clear­ing first bar for ex­pan­sion

Dupixent, the blockbuster anti-inflammatory drug from Sanofi and Regeneron, has cleared a high-stakes Phase III study in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the companies announced Thursday morning.

If they hold up in a second, identical trial, the data pave the way for Dupixent to become the first biologic to treat patients whose COPD remains uncontrolled despite being on maximal standard-of-care inhaled therapy — the patient population studied in the pivotal program. The companies had spotlighted this as a key readout as they look to expand the Dupixent franchise and explore its full potential.

Chat­G­PT with phar­ma da­ta de­buts for med­ical meet­ings, be­gin­ning with AACR

What do you get when you combine ChatGPT generative AI technology with specific pharma and clinical datasets? A time-saving tool that can answer questions about medical conference abstracts and clinical findings in seconds in one new application from ZoomRx called FermaGPT.

ZoomRx is debuting a public version of its generative AI product specifically for medical conferences beginning this week for the upcoming American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting that runs April 14-19.

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Drug short­age so­lu­tions brought be­fore Sen­ate Home­land Se­cu­ri­ty com­mit­tee

With more than 300 active drug shortages, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs had its hands full on Wednesday with multiple experts testifying on drug shortages and possible solutions.

A picture of the shortage situation. presented by Erin Fox, an adjunct professor at the College of Pharmacy at the University of Utah, explained how some patients have died due to drug shortages, including with medication errors when substitutes were dosed incorrectly or when an emergency product was not available.

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Quince Ther­a­peu­tics faces takeover bid from share­hold­er Echo Lake Cap­i­tal

A bid to take over the biotech Quince Therapeutics has been put forward by one of its shareholders.

On Tuesday, Echo Lake Capital sent a letter to Quince’s board of directors putting forth a proposal to acquire all the biotech’s stock for $1.60 per share, which would value a takeover at around $58 million.

In the letter, Echo Lake said that it believes Quince’s stock is severely undervalued and that no drugs are being actively marketed or developed that require cash expenditures. It’s trading below the value of its assets, Echo Lake said.

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Flare Therapeutics biochemists Yong Li (L) and Valerie Vivat

A $123M Flare will get Third Rock on­col­o­gy biotech in­to the clin­ic this year

Flare Therapeutics will start its first human trial this year with an investigational urothelial cancer drug after pulling together a $123 million Series B from Big Pharmas, VCs and its incubator, Third Rock Ventures.

Launched in 2021 on the idea that a biotech could finally succeed at drugging the much-sought-after but stubborn transcription factor, Flare Therapeutics said Wednesday it is now primed for the clinic after closing its large financing haul earlier this year. The raise is a relatively stark figure in a tough startup financing environment but further buoys the upbeat signals coming out of other Third Rock biotechs in recent weeks, including the $200 million CARGO Therapeutics and $100 million Rapport Therapeutics rounds.

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