Contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) will play a crucial role in the long recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. These companies have the power to professionally manufacture and distribute millions of doses of vaccines, therapies, new treatments, and reliable, older treatments. Pharmaceutical companies and researchers have determined that one of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is through messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines.
Because of the high demand for these vaccines and the demand for more treatments and therapies to help people deal with “long-haul” COVID-19, CDMOs have had to expand their facilities, factories, and plants, and increase the number of employees working at these locations. Furthermore, while expanding, these companies have had to maintain their high level of quality, efficiency, and sustainability.
Companies like Samsung Biologics have had to plan on large-scale expansions and more locations to meet the demand from the pharmaceutical industry, the medical industry, and patients.
Some of these expansions were already put into place, like Samsung Biologics’ Plant 4, or the “Super Plant.” But with the ongoing pandemic, it became evident to the leaders of Samsung Biologics that more was needed to continue to produce the numbers the industry requested. Continual growth, innovation, and attention to sustainability have long been a part of Samsung Biologics’ mission.
CEO John Rim said in a statement, “With a steadfast vision and unrelenting drive to achieve a better life for all, we embrace responsibility, expertise, and pride in our work, and will continue on our noble mission to enable improved accessibility of biomedicines and consequently the quality of life for people around the globe.”
New Plants and Locations in the Years Ahead
Samsung Biologics currently has three plants in full operation but plans to have many more in the next few years. Some of these plans come as a direct result of the demand for mRNA vaccines and treatments. In an interview with FiercePharma, Chief Business Officer James Park said, “Samsung Biologics has monoclonal antibody production facilities at [our facilities in] Songdo. However, we want to venture into mRNA technology as well. So starting in April 2021, we built the capability on the drug substance side of the mRNA vaccine and manufacturing, and we will have the DS [drug substance] facility ready by Q2 2022.”
The company has multiple plants in the works, including the “Super Plant,” or Plant 4. Located in Incheon, South Korea, Samsung Biologics began work in November 2020. When this project is completed, it will be the biggest biopharmaceutical production CDMO facility in the world. There will be cold and freezer storage, as well as a contract diagnostic organization (CDO) lab and a quality control (QC) lab, all on-site. When it comes to handling and storing Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, GreenLight Bioscience COVID-19 vaccines, or any other mRNA vaccines, they must be kept at certain temperatures throughout the manufacturing process.
At the J.P. Morgan 2022 Health Care Conference, Samsung Biologics introduced plans for a second biocampus which could include an open innovation center and prospective plants. The company is also in the planning stages of Plant 5, a multi-modal facility that could provide mRNA, pDNA, and viral vectors. This makes it unsurprising that Samsung Biologics received the Asia-Pacific Vaccine Excellence Awards 2021 from Impactful Connections and Intelligence the previous year for Best Vaccine CMO of the Year.
“The strategic road map and milestones outlined today illustrate the key success drivers for our growth this year as well as lay a strong groundwork for sustainable growth opportunities ahead of us,” Rim said at the conference in January. “With our continued investment in capacity, portfolio, and global footprint, we will evolve as the top biopharmaceutical company and offer diversified services as the next growth engine of the industry.”
More Globalization in the Future
Samsung Biologics also has major plans to develop more locations in Europe, China, and the United States of America. According to Park, “We’re always looking to expand to potentially where the clients are in the U.S. and Europe. We started doing that in 2020 actually. We have an R&D Center, which is a contract development services office in San Francisco. So, we started that to venture and expand into the U.S. in October 2020. We are going to continue to expand to other biotech hubs in the United States, such as in the Boston area for example, and then also potentially to Europe and China in the future.”
The company still has to research the need for expansion in specific locations. Park explained to FiercePharma that hopefully after that evaluation, Samsung Biologics will announce new plans to expand in other geographical areas. Park believed that because the company could construct plants more quickly than its competitors, they would be able to provide more value over time in new locations. “I think having that know-how in terms of building the plants sooner actually helps in time, value, and money as well,” he said.
Expansion has been a key component of Samsung Biologics’ plans from the beginning. According to a recent statement from Samsung Biologics, the business is making an investment in its future growth and development. Samsung, the parent company of Samsung Biologics, stated that at least 560,000 jobs will be generated via investment and production, with 40,000 new workers joining the company’s workforce.
With more employees, it won’t be difficult for Samsung Biologics to continue to spread across the globe.