Samsung Biologics takes on manufacturing duties for GreenLight's Covid-19 vaccine
Samsung Biologics has entered an agreement with biotech GreenLight BioSciences to manufacture its mRNA Covid-19 vaccine at commercial scale, the two companies announced.
Samsung Biologics, one of the fastest growing manufacturers in the world right now, will use its vaccine manufacturing expertise to help patients in lower-income countries, CEO John Rim said in a press release. This will help expand their capabilities from drug substance to aseptic fill-finish and all the way to commercial release from one site.
“At this time of urgent global demand, we will strive for seamless service across our biomanufacturing network to fight the COVID pandemic and in turn, help make progress towards Korea’s vaccine hub goal,” he said in a press release.
Samsung’s Songdo facility will be ready for cGMP operations in early 2022, the company said. It added drug substance capabilities to the site earlier this year, in an attempt to be proactive in accommodating clients’ needs.
In August, Greenlight reverse-merged its way onto the Nasdaq, landing a $1.5 billion valuation after merging with the SPAC Environmental Impact Acquisition Corp., which is backed by Canaccord Genuity Group and Hudson Bay Capital Management. That merger landed the company $207 million and $105 million in PIPE financing.
The company was founded in 2008 to use its mRNA technology to protect both humans and agriculture, including honeybees and crops. It was virtually unknown before the merger. Now, the company is looking to set up a blueprint for vaccinating the world from Covid-19, and hopes to do so through improved mRNA manufacturing capabilities. It’s been working on seasonal flu and sickle cell disease vaccines as well, but it got its start while trying to shake up the pesticides market for industrial agriculture.
“There is an urgent need to develop vaccines for the whole world,” GreenLight CEO Andrey Zarur said in a press release. “Our vaccine trial will open the way to make vaccines that are available to everybody, not just citizens of developed countries.”
There are currently three plants at the Samsung Songdo campus. A fourth is on the way, and the CDMO just got approved to build a fifth in November.
Samsung will finish the $259 million site on 32,808-square-feet of land in the city, which comes on the heels of its newest cell line, which launched in August 2020. It’s also in talks to acquire more land to develop a second bio complex. This, and all of Samsung’s other expansions, come on the heels of a 64% increase in sales from last year to $375 million, largely thanks to an increased demand for CDMO services.
A previous version of this story stated that GreenLight was based in South Korea. It is based out of Boston, MA.