Samsung Biologics, one of the world’s largest contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs), has maintained an ambitious growth trajectory since its establishment in 2011. The company has utilized the substantial technological and financial infrastructure of its multinational parent company, Samsung Group, to continually expand both its portfolio and manufacturing capacity.

The most recent example is its completion of a fourth biomanufacturing plant at its headquarters in Songdo, South Korea. With a 240,000-liter capacity, the plant is the largest facility of its kind, and it has increased Samsung Biologics’ total manufacturing capacity to over 600,000 liters. This accounts for roughly a quarter of the world’s biomanufacturing capacity.

But the CDMO isn’t content to rest on this number: It’s accelerating its plans to expand its capacity further with a fifth plant, set to be completed in 2025.

“Over a decade ago, we committed to bringing innovative solutions to our partners, and we’ve successfully delivered on that commitment with each new plant. Now building on this foundation, Plant 5 will leverage our unparalleled experience and expertise to deliver long-term success for our clients,” said John Rim, president and CEO of Samsung Biologics, in a press release on the company’s plans for Plant 5.

“By expediting our capacity expansion and providing fully integrated services, we hope to close the gap between the demand and supply of lifesaving biomedicines.”

Samsung Biologics’ rapid expansion speaks to a larger trend of CDMO growth in recent years, as more pharmaceutical companies are outsourcing manufacturing services to focus their resources on areas like research, development, and marketing. The industry is also benefiting from a boom in biopharmaceutical innovation in areas such as monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and mRNA vaccines.

“We are seeing a very positive momentum as the marketplace continues to grow, with mAb therapies having a double-digit growth thanks to tech advancements and wealth increases across the globe,” explained Rim in a recent interview.

“From this perspective, the drugs that are more interventional and that help patients live longer are going to take off spectacularly in the following years. The biologics market will probably topple the small molecules one, but the whole evolution is closely linked to the popularization of new technologies. Even though the general markets will possibly go into recession, medicines are an essential asset.”

CDMO Industry Growth

Over the past two decades, the CDMO industry has reshaped the landscape of pharmaceutical manufacturing. The sector serves as a vital link in the pharmaceutical supply chain, providing specialized development and manufacturing services to partner pharmaceutical companies.

Working with companies like Samsung Biologics allows pharmaceutical companies to access specialized expertise and state-of-the-art facilities. CDMOs often have extensive knowledge in formulation development, process optimization, and regulatory compliance, enabling them to accelerate drug development time lines without sacrificing quality production. This is Samsung Biologics’ goal in expanding its facilities and capabilities, which include mAb development and manufacturing and end-to-end mRNA vaccine production services.

By partnering with Samsung Biologics and utilizing its facilities, pharmaceutical companies can tap into these capabilities without having to invest heavily in building and maintaining their own manufacturing infrastructure.

“Historically, CDMOs would transfer products in around six months, but we have been able to half that time, particularly during the pandemic when monoclonal antibody therapies were direly sought-after,” said Rim. “Besides these, we helped Moderna with packing their vaccine into vials and getting it approved in a five months’ time frame. We employ three major CDO technology platforms to offer. S-CHOice allows us to produce high cell line yields, S-DUAL is a bispecific platform, and DEVELOPICK enables us to identify the most efficient cell line.

“Over the last couple of years, many biopharma companies have been showing a growing interest in contract manufacturing to mitigate supply chain risks and focus on streamlined [research and development].”

The ‘Dream Plant’

Samsung Biologics has deemed Plant 5 the “Dream Plant” due to its adaptability and capacity to meet client objectives. The plant is designed to include seamless integration and optimization of processes, along with advanced automation. Moreover, the new facility will prioritize sustainability, incorporating systems that align with the CDMO’s commitment to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or earlier.

Plant 5 will be the initial facility in Samsung Biologics’ second Bio Campus. In a significant expansion move, the company acquired a vast land area of 357,360 square meters (about 88.3 acres) in July 2022 to house the new campus. In addition to Plant 5 and four additional plants, Samsung Biologics plans to feature an Open Innovation Center dedicated to biotech incubation at Bio Campus II. It estimates that the capacity at Bio Campus II will reach 720,000 liters. With this number added to Samsung Biologics’ existing capacity of 604,000 liters, the company’s total capacity would reach a massive 1.324 million liters.

“This strategic investment allows us to support our clients across the entire product life cycle,” said Rim. “Through innovation and sustainability, Bio Campus II will add unbeatable value to our existing services and offer expanded capacity in record time to enable their success.”

By Manali