Samsung Biologics forge manufacturing partnership with AstraZeneca

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Samsung Biologics recently announced a partnership with AstraZeneca to provide pharmaceutical product and manufacturing services.

The long-term supply arrangement will allow Samsung Biologics (207940.KS), the biotech division of Samsung Group, to manufacture large-scale bulk drug substances for AstraZeneca (AZNCF), a global pharmaceutical company. The supply agreement is valued at about $330.8 million. It also includes a partnership valued at $545.6 million to support AstraZeneca’s biologics therapeutics at its Plant 3 facility in Incheon, South Korea.

The collaboration will help AstraZeneca to expand its manufacturing capabilities in the Asia Pacific region. At the same time it will allow Samsung Biologics to provide needed manufacturing experience and support. In the process it will significantly stimulate South Korea’s biohealth efforts.

Dr. Tae Han Kim, Samsung Biologics founding CEO, said both companies will benefit from the arrangement. “We are very proud to partner with AstraZeneca, a company that uses a rich history of science-led innovation to serve patients,” he said. “At Samsung Biologics, our people share this common purpose to help our clients bring innovative solutions to an array of diseases, and we look forward to delivering on our promise to aid in AstraZeneca’s ongoing expansion program.”

Although many business sectors are having challenges this year adapting to the major economic changes and the disruption stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, biohealth is doing well, especially at Samsung Biologics, which continues to expand.

Samsung Biologics is also working on a $2 billion ‘Super Plant’ for manufacturing. The 256 million square feet facility is expected to hold the additional 256,000 liters of capacity which will effectively double the company’s total capacity. The plant is expected to be completed in 2023, and when finished, it will be considered one of the largest manufacturing facilities of its kind in the world.

Samsung Biologics is also planning to create another biocampus with a focus on fostering biotech companies as well as general research and development efforts.

The partnership with AstraZeneca has been in the works since June when top officials from both companies signed a formal Letter of Interest. Representatives from South Korea’s government were also present at the signing ceremony.

Pam Cheng, EVP of Global Operations and IT for AstraZeneca, said both companies are looking forward to future growth. “This long-term partnership with Samsung Biologics strengthens our manufacturing capabilities, and ensures we are well-positioned to continue to deliver our exciting portfolio of new and established biologics medicines to patients with quality, speed and efficiency,” she said.

Samsung Biologics has also been creating additional partnerships with other pharmaceutical companies this year, including Vir Biotechnology, which jointly announced the creation of a $362 million arrangement that will help scale manufacturing of a monoclonal antibody program. This could be a potential treatment option for COVID-19. A related deal took place in March when GlaxoSmithKline finalized a $231 million deal over eight years to increase production of Benlysta, a lupus medicine. Production is expected to begin in 2022.  

AstraZeneca also continues to develop partnerships, and a recent one was made with the University of Oxford to focus on developing a possible vaccine for COVID-19.

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