The Korea Herald


Samsung Biologics’ San Francisco lab first step to wider overseas expansion

‘Next stops: East Coast, Europe and China,’ says CEO Kim Tae-han

By Lim Jeong-yeo

Published : Oct. 29, 2020 - 16:14

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Samsung Biologics’ CEO Kim Tae-han speaks at the online press event on Thursday. (Samsung Biologics) Samsung Biologics’ CEO Kim Tae-han speaks at the online press event on Thursday. (Samsung Biologics)
Samsung Biologics announced the opening of its first overseas contract development operation site in the San Francisco Bay Area, Thursday.

“We plan to continue our expansion into Boston, Europe and China. In 2020 and beyond, our next decade will be marked by global expansion. We want to be your next-door CDMO partner wherever you are located for faster and better development support,” said Kim Tae-han, CEO of Samsung Biologics, at the online press event designed to introduce the new facility through a virtual tour.

The opening of the San Francisco research and development center has had a slight delay from the original plan announced earlier in the year targeting a launch date of sometime in April.

Now fully operational, the CDO center is ideally located at 600 Gateway Boulevard, in the heart of the San Francisco bio cluster, where there are over 2,500 life science companies that employ over 96,000 scientists in the surrounding region.

The goal of the center is to serve as an extended research team to local biotech firms, aiding them in the first steps of their novel biologics development, starting with its high-performing cell line development and seamless process development, Kim said.

Samsung Biologics aspires for the CDO deals to lead to larger contract manufacturing deals. By 2030, Samsung Biologics anticipates 50 percent of its contract manufacturing deals will be extensions of the CDO projects.

“We have become a champion CMO in 2020. It is our new goal to become a champion CDO by 2025 and a champion CRO (contract research organization) by 2030,” Kim said.

Samsung Biologics originally started with 30 members in 2011 as a contract manufacturing organization -- meaning it manufactures commercial batches of authorized biologic drugs for client biopharmaceutical firms.

In an effort to expand the scope of its business, it started offering contract development services from 2018.

Contract development is the stage that precedes contract manufacturing. At this stage, Samsung Biologics takes on the role of outsourced scientist group developing and testing investigative drug for biotech companies that may be lacking in laboratory equipment and clinical sample manufacturing capacity.

Since beginning the service two years ago, Samsung Biologics already has built a successful track record for a total of 70 Biological License Applications and Investigational New Drug applications.

For an end-to-end one-stop service, Samsung Biologics is also to begin full-fledged contract research organization activities from 2021.

The overseas expansion is a key investment on Samsung Biologics’ part to be a better partner to its largely global client group.

“Many nations are spurting forward in biological researches, but our major client companies are still in the US and in Europe,” Kim said, “The reason why we are branching out overseas, then, is to have better connectivity with our partners, to be near them where they need us, and in their time zones.”

“Samsung Biologics’ core powers remain in Songdo, Incheon, in Korea. With the completion of our Plant 4, which is going to be ready for GMP operation by end of 2022, our total manufacturing capacity will be increased to 620,000 liters in a single generation. Our development speed and cost competitiveness is unparalleled,” Kim said.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (