The Korea Herald


[JPM 2024] Samsung Biologics seeks ‘unrivaled’ CDMO leadership

CEO dismisses oversupply concerns, renews commitment to ramping up production

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : Jan. 10, 2024 - 15:21

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Samsung Biologics CEO John Rim speaks at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. (Samsung Biologics) Samsung Biologics CEO John Rim speaks at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. (Samsung Biologics)

SAN FRANCISCO – Samsung Biologics, the biotech arm of Samsung Group, is seeking to further consolidate its leadership in the soaring contract manufacturing and development market by outpacing rivals in terms of production capacity.

"I am aware of the market's post-pandemic oversupply concerns. However, considering the continual rise in our orders, the choice to expand production capacity is deemed essential to promptly address the strong demands of our clients,” CEO John Rim said at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.

With its fourth plant becoming operational in June last year, its production capacity has reached 604,000 liters on the first Bio Campus in Songdo, Incheon. When the fifth plant on the upcoming second campus is completed by April next year, its production capacity will be raised to some 784,000 liters – unrivaled globally.

"Last year, we secured more than 3 trillion won in new orders. Our growth rate is at about 20 percent, which is higher than the industry's average of 10 percent,” Rim said.

Samsung Biologics was one of the key participating companies in the biggest investment event of the global pharmaceutical and biotech industry. The company used to deliver a presentation on the third day of the event but this year its order has been advanced to the second day in reflection of its bigger presence in the high-profile gathering.

The CEO’s push for expansion comes after the company spent the best year in earnings last year. As of the third quarter, it posted 2.62 trillion won ($1.98 billion) in sales and 763.7 billion won in operating profits. For the whole year, sales are estimated to exceed 3.6 trillion won.

Currently, it has secured 14 out of 20 major global pharmaceutical companies as clients, including AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, GSK, Moderna, Novartis and Pfizer.

Rim offered a rosy outlook for growth, citing several factors such as a fast aging population, progress in treatments for specific conditions like Alzheimer's and obesity, and the burgeoning biosimilar market.

Leveraging this unparalleled production capacity, the firm aims to enhance the provision of stable and flexible CDMO services to its clientele.

According to the firm, the biopharmaceutical market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of approximately 10 percent by 2030.

"While the significance of antibody drugs is expected to persist, rapid growth in new modalities such as ADC (antibody-drug conjugates) and CGT (cell and gene therapy) is also anticipated. We aim to offer ADC production services within the antibody-drug conjugation domain and are considering an entry into the CGT business from a mid to long-term perspective," Rim said.

With a strategic focus on the CDO development center and bio-research center, the plan is to secure pivotal technologies in areas including antibody productivity enhancement, ADC toolbox, bispecific antibodies, and mRNA, thereby reinforcing Samsung Biologics' business portfolios.

Within the drug production sector, the firm's aim of geographical expansion will be synchronized with the drug substance production business. Additionally, Samsung Biologics seeks potential expansion of the portfolio to encompass prefilled syringes.

In its pursuit of becoming a global top-tier bio company, the company intends to reinforce its established core strengths, including speed competitiveness and operational efficiency.

Meanwhile, the company is persistently expanding its geographic reach to enhance connections with global customers. Following the establishment of its presence in Boston, it set up another sales office in New Jersey last year, where major pharmaceutical companies are situated. The office serves as a crucial communication channel for the company.

"We plan on proactively employing inorganic strategies, such as expanding CDMO bases in prominent regions like the US and Europe, while actively investing in innovative companies and pursuing mergers and acquisitions," Rim said.