In January, John Rim, the president and CEO of contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Samsung Biologics, spoke at the 41st Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare conference. The conference is an investment symposium, offering industry leaders and members of the investment community the opportunity to discuss strategies and trends. Rim and Samsung Biologics outlined three key industry trends that will drive their growth strategy in 2023: innovative expansion, modality diversification, and sustainable growth.
These trends are closely aligned with the CDMO’s three growth pillars of expanding manufacturing capacity, diversifying its portfolio, and increasing its global footprint. As a presenter at the conference’s main track, Rim outlined Samsung Biologics’ 2022 achievements and 2023 strategies with these trends and pillars in mind.
“We will maintain our lead in manufacturing capacity with the full completion of Plant 4 in mid-2023 and invest another 7.5 trillion [South Korean won, approximately $5.95 billion] in Bio Campus 2,” said Rim. “We are also considering expanding our CDMO services to include antibody-drug conjugate and gene therapy.”
CDMO Expansion, Diversification, and Sustainability
While the COVID-19 pandemic has stalled growth in some industries, it has accelerated it in others, and many biopharmaceutical companies, including Samsung Biologics, have experienced significant growth in recent years. Developments that led to this industry growth include increasing demand for CDMO services to adapt to supply chain issues, the onset of advanced artificial intelligence technology, and innovative research and development in areas such as mRNA vaccine production.
With growing companies emerging from the pandemic, it’s expected that there could be significant biopharmaceuticals mergers and acquisitions in 2023.
Samsung Biologics expanded with its April 2022 full acquisition of Samsung Bioepis, a biosimilars company that it founded in 2012 with Biogen. The CDMO expects the market for biosimilars, which offer cost-effective alternatives to reference biologics, to continue to grow in the future. Samsung Bioepis added a therapeutic to treat macular degeneration in 2022, and it already approved therapeutics to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases.
In addition to its acquisition, Samsung Biologics expanded its facilities in 2022 and will continue to do so in 2023. It began partial operations at its fourth plant in October 2022. This plant is the largest biomanufacturing facility in the world, with a capacity of 240,000 liters. When it becomes fully operational in mid-2023, Samsung Biologics will have a total manufacturing capacity of 604,000 liters at its Songdo, South Korea, headquarters. At the conference, Rim noted that Samsung Biologics is considering constructing an antibody drug conjugate manufacturing facility in 2024.
The CDMO also purchased land in Songdo for a new Bio Campus 2 in 2022. At 357,000 square acres, this land is 30% larger than the site of its first Bio Campus, and it will host an open innovation center in addition to new manufacturing facilities.
Rim also said that Samsung Biologics will continue to expand its presence internationally, adding offices in New Jersey and Boston to facilitate communication with international clients. The CDMO already operates a CDO R&D Center in San Francisco.
Samsung Biologics’ expansion will be accompanied by continued portfolio diversification to adapt to broader industry trends. The CDMO added an end-to-end mRNA vaccine production suite in 2022, and it’s planning to enter the cell and gene therapy market. These new technologies have the potential to offer more individually targeted therapies for applications such as cancer, as well as wider use against infectious diseases, as evidenced by the use of mRNA vaccines to combat COVID-19.
As it pursues expansion and modality diversification, Samsung Biologics continues to reinforce its sustainable management efforts, for which it was recently recognized with the Sustainable Markets Initiative’s Terra Carta Seal. According to its most recent environmental, social, and governance report, Samsung Biologics reduced emissions at its facilities by 32.3% from 2020 to 2021, and its goal is to achieve a 32% emissions
reduction and 30% renewable energy usage by 2030. The CDMO’s long-term goal is to achieve net-zero emissions and run on 100% renewable energy sources by 2050. To achieve these goals, it will continue to stay involved with the SMI’s Health Systems Task Force, as well as the RE100 initiative, the Carbon Disclosure Project, and the Korean government’s Frontier 1.5D project.
“The healthcare industry is a large source of greenhouse gases, accounting for 4% of global CO2 emissions,” explained Rim in a recent interview on the topic of Samsung Biologics’ ESG policies. “The industry produces 2.4 [gross tons] of CO2 per year and about 50% of that is created in the upstream supply chain, which corresponds with many biopharma CDMOs’ Scope 3 emissions.”
Samsung Biologics’ involvement as the lone CDMO on the SMI’s Supply Chains Working Group is directed toward finding practical solutions to reduce these emissions across the biopharmaceuticals supply chain.
After making progress in expansion, diversification, and sustainability efforts in 2022, Rim’s confident that Samsung Biologics will continue to succeed on these fronts in the coming years.
“The strategies outlined today will not only drive growth this year but also build sustainable foundations for the long term,” he said at the conference. “We will continue to grow, ultimately to provide maximum satisfaction to our clients and to our investors.”