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.