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.