Samsung Biologics becomes global manufacturing hub for COVID vaccine


The biopharmaceutical arm of South Koreas Samsung Group, Samsung Biologics, has reportedly emerged as a global production hub for COVID-19 vaccines and related drugs, teaming up with global drugmakers in controlling the spread of the virus.

According to reports, over the last two years, the company was able to secure contracts with major pharma firms like Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Moderna, GlaxoSmithKline, and GreenLight Biosciences, for manufacturing their vaccines and drugs.

Earlier this month, Samsung Biologics extended its deal with AstraZeneca for the manufacturing of its COVID-19 antibody combination, Evusheld. The novel deal is pegged to be worth Won 450 billion ($380 million), an estimated increase of Won 59 billion ($49 million) from initial contract.

When the biopharmaceutical industry was unable to acquire pharmaceutical ingredients in November 2020, Samsung Biologics was still able to produce drugs that effectively met the Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations set by the FDA five months after it inked a contract with Eli Lilly.

In May, after it signed a contract with Moderna to perform the filling and finishing stage of the company's vaccine manufacturing process, Samsung Biologics was awarded approval by the nation's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.

Consequently becoming the first Ministry-approved Korean pharmaceutical company to help the manufacture of mRNA vaccine, creating high hopes for the local pharmaceutical industry to become involved in the mRNA vaccines production, for both domestic and global use. 

In November, the company also inked a partnership deal with GreenLight Biosciences for the mass production of raw materials needed for mRNA vaccines.

Samsung Biologics had reported a cumulative sale of Won 1.1 trillion ($926 million) in the third quarter of this year, compared to Won 789 billion ($664 million) from the same period last year, signifying its key role in the global market. 

The pharma giant is planning for the establishment of an mRNA vaccines DS (drug substance) production line by 2022, which if completed, will carry out the end-to-end process of massive and sterile production of DS, packaging, labeling, and cold-chain storage.  

By the end of 2022, the firm also plans on having four additional plants partially activated.

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