John Rim, Samsung Biologics CEO

Sam­sung Bi­o­log­ics pro­motes new CEO from with­in to head next phase of rapid man­u­fac­tur­ing ex­pan­sion

Rid­ing a wave of red-hot in­vest­ments in bi­o­log­ics, Sam­sung Bi­o­log­ics — the bio­phar­ma CD­MO arm of the South Ko­re­an tech gi­ant — is string­ing to­geth­er a se­ries of ma­jor down pay­ments on man­u­fac­tur­ing. Now, the firm has found the right leader to steer it in­to its next phase, and it didn’t have to look far.

Sam­sung Bi­o­log­ics has cho­sen John Rim, a three-year ex­ec­u­tive VP, to be its next pres­i­dent and CEO, cit­ing his con­tri­bu­tions in rapid­ly ex­pand­ing the CD­MO’s man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pac­i­ties since he joined the com­pa­ny in 2018.

A 30-year bio­phar­ma vet­er­an, Rim, 58, over­saw the op­er­a­tions at Sam­sung’s Plant 3 — the world’s largest man­u­fac­tur­ing site — and was key in the de­vel­op­ment of the com­pa­ny’s Plant 4 — a $2 bil­lion bi­o­log­ics “su­per plant” — which broke ground ear­li­er this year and at 238,000 square feet will be the same size as three of the US’ largest shop­ping malls com­bined.

In a news re­lease, Rim, who will as­sume the new roles im­me­di­ate­ly, said he was grate­ful and ex­cit­ed to lead the bur­geon­ing man­u­fac­tur­er in­to the next decade.

“This is an ex­tra­or­di­nary com­pa­ny, un­par­al­leled in its phe­nom­e­nal growth and ded­i­ca­tion to client sat­is­fac­tion, made pos­si­ble by the com­pa­ny’s un­re­lent­ing vi­sion and pas­sion, and busi­ness ution by great peo­ple whom I will have the priv­i­lege to lead as CEO,” Rim said.

De­mand for Sam­sung’s man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pac­i­ty has in­creased ex­po­nen­tial­ly of late, due large­ly to the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic. In Sep­tem­ber, for­mer CEO Tae Han Kim told the Wall Street Jour­nal that the size and out­puts of Plant 4 were orig­i­nal­ly ex­pect­ed to be much small­er — but due to the pan­dem­ic, the com­pa­ny in the first half of 2020 signed deals worth 2.5 times its en­tire 2019 rev­enue.

Plant 4 will add 256,000 liters to Sam­sung’s over­all man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pac­i­ty, bring­ing the com­pa­ny’s to­tal to 620,000 liters — such ex­pan­sion, Kim al­so told the WSJ, was nec­es­sary as the com­pa­ny is reach­ing max­i­mum ca­pac­i­ty at its cur­rent three plants. Sam­sung, for ex­am­ple, has a re­cent con­tract with GSK to help pro­duce the British drug­mak­er’s spe­cial­ty care drugs and al­so makes drugs for Bris­tol My­ers Squibb and the Roche group.

Pri­or to join­ing Sam­sung Bi­o­log­ics in 2018, Rim worked for Genen­tech/Roche in a va­ri­ety of se­nior glob­al lead­er­ship roles in tech­ni­cal op­er­a­tions, prod­uct de­vel­op­ment, and re­search and de­vel­op­ment in the US and Eu­rope. Rim al­so held var­i­ous se­nior lead­er­ship roles with Astel­las Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals.

Found­ed in 2011, the off­shoot ven­ture of the smart­phone gi­ant has grown rapid­ly, but not with­out con­tro­ver­sy. In De­cem­ber 2019, three com­pa­ny ex­ec­u­tives were jailed for de­stroy­ing ev­i­dence re­lat­ed to a probe re­gard­ing al­leged in­fla­tion of Sam­sung Bi­o­log­ics’ val­ue ahead of its 2016 pub­lic list­ing.

It’s un­clear ex­act­ly why Rim re­placed Kim as CEO, but as of Wednes­day morn­ing, Kim is still list­ed as the chair­man of Sam­sung’s board of di­rec­tors.

At the In­flec­tion Point for the Next Gen­er­a­tion of Can­cer Im­munother­a­py

While oncology researchers have long pursued the potential of cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer, it was unclear whether these therapies would ever reach patients due to the complexity of manufacturing and costs of development. Fortunately, the recent successful development and regulatory approval of chimeric antigen receptor-engineered T (CAR-T) cells have demonstrated the significant benefit of these therapies to patients.

Tillman Gerngross (Adagio)

Till­man Gern­gross on Omi­cron: 'It is a grim sit­u­a­tion...we’re go­ing to see a sig­nif­i­cant drop in vac­cine ef­fi­ca­cy'

Tillman Gerngross, the rarely shy Dartmouth professor, biotech entrepreneur and antibody expert, has been warning for over a year that the virus behind Covid-19 would likely continue to mutate, potentially in ways that avoid immunity from infection and the best defenses scientists developed. He spun out a company, Adagio, to build a universal antibody, one that could snuff out any potential mutation.

Endpoints Premium

Premium subscription required

Unlock this article along with other benefits by subscribing to one of our paid plans.

In­cor­po­rat­ing Ex­ter­nal Da­ta in­to Clin­i­cal Tri­als: Com­par­ing Dig­i­tal Twins to Ex­ter­nal Con­trol Arms

Most drug development professionals are familiar with the nerve-racking wait for the read-out of a large trial. If it’s negative, is the investigational therapy ineffective? Or could the failure result from an unforeseen flaw in the design or execution of the protocol, rather than a lack of efficacy? The team could spend weeks analyzing data, but a definitive answer may be elusive due to insufficient power for such analyses in the already completed trial. These problems are only made worse if the trial had lower enrollment, or higher dropout than expected due to an unanticipated event like COVID-19. And if a trial is negative, the next one is likely to be larger and more costly — if it happens at all.

Like the flu vac­cine every year, the FDA could move quick­ly on a vari­ant-tar­get­ed Covid vac­cine

In the same way that the FDA signs off on flu vaccines every year without requiring large clinical trials to measure their efficacy, the FDA may employ a similar strategy in authorizing variant-focused versions of the mRNA vaccines.

As the world braces for more data on the latest variant Omicron, which may reduce vaccine efficacy, top vaccine developers like Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech have promised they can pull together a new vaccine targeted against a specific Covid variant in about 100 days. Since Omicron emerged last week, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and J&J have all said they’ve begun work on Omicron-specific vaccines, if needed.

Thanks­giv­ing edi­tion: Top 15 End­points sto­ries of 2021; Can you name that vac­cine?; Mer­ck­'s Covid an­tivi­ral dis­ap­points; FDA nom­i­nee's in­dus­try ties; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

Happy Thanksgiving to all those who are celebrating it — although, if we are being honest, this week’s abbreviated edition is really for those who are not. Wherever you’re tuning in from, we appreciate your support, hope you find this recap helpful and we wish you a wonderful weekend.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 124,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

What were End­points read­ers tun­ing in­to this year? Here’s a look at our 15 most pop­u­lar re­ports of the year (so far)

At the beginning of this year, I laid out a basic objective for Endpoints News as we headed to our 5th anniversary. We’ve long been doing a fine job covering the breaking news in R&D — if I do say so myself — but we needed to expand our horizons on industry coverage, increase the staff and go much, much deeper when the stories demanded it.

In a phrase: broader and deeper.

It’s safe to say, based on our daily web traffic, that you all seemed to like this idea. We’ve doubled the staff — thanks to a growing group of paid subscribers — ramped up the daily report and now publish a regular slate of in-depth articles. And traffic — those clicks you always read about — have gone up in volume too. Monthly sessions are up 43%, to close to 1.5 million. Unique readers are up 63%, to 874,480 in October, after setting a record of close to a million the month before. Page views are running at 3 million-plus a month. And the overall number of subscribers has surged to 124,000.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 124,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

Omi­cron: Re­searchers scram­ble as new coro­n­avirus mu­ta­tion takes flight around the globe — Pfiz­er/BioN­Tech, Mod­er­na vow swift re­sponse

As Americans were waking up for their Black Friday rituals, they were greeted with the news that a new mutation of the Covid-19 virus has appeared and been sequenced — after it caught an international flight to Hong Kong. And two of the leading Covid-19 vaccine developers promised delivery of a new vaccine “within 100 days” if necessary while a third spelled out its 3-prong strategy hours later.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 124,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.

Nev­er too late: For­bion pitch­es $100M SPAC; Kro­nos Bio re­leas­es ear­ly in­ter­im da­ta on CDK9 in­hibitor

Dutch VC Forbion is hopping on the ever-lengthening SPAC train.

To be led by Jasper Bos, who joined Forbion Growth as a general partner back in May just after the fund closed at $428 million, Forbion European Acquisition will target late-stage opportunities in the life sciences industry in Europe to merge with and bring onto Nasdaq.

Cyril Lesser, senior controller at Forbion, will be the CFO while Bos serves as CEO.

Jeff Albers, Blueprint Medicines CEO

Look­ing past Big Phar­ma ri­vals, Blue­print buys a pre­clin­i­cal biotech for $250M+

J&J’s Rybrevant scored the first approval back in May for a small group of lung cancer patients with a rare EGFR mutation. Despite a swarm of other biopharma companies angling for a piece of that market, Blueprint Medicines is betting nearly $500 million on a candidate it thinks will stand out.

Blueprint is putting down $250 million in cash and another $215 million in biobucks for Lengo Therapeutics and its preclinical non-small cell lung cancer program LNG-451. Though it hasn’t been tested in humans, Blueprint says the candidate was “highly brain-penetrant” in preclinical trials, and has the potential to inhibit all common EGFR exon 20 insertion variants — which are found in just 2% to 3% of NSCLC patients.

Endpoints News

Keep reading Endpoints with a free subscription

Unlock this story instantly and join 124,100+ biopharma pros reading Endpoints daily — and it's free.