Samsung Bio adds another Big Pharma customer with $331m AstraZeneca deal

AstraZeneca will grow its production network into Asia-Pacific through a contract with Korean CDMO Samsung Biologics for large-scale drug substance manufacturing.

Anglo-Swedish pharma firm AstraZeneca is teaming with contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Samsung Biologics in a long-term deal worth an initial $330.8 million, though this could rise to $545.6 million.

The specific products to be made at Samsung Biologics’ site in Incheon, South Korea have not been disclosed but AstraZeneca has numerous biologics commercially available and a number moving through the clinic that will require manufacturing support. The deal also allows AstraZeneca to expand its biologics manufacturing capabilities into the Asia-Pacific region.

Image: iStock/Sanga Park

“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,” said Pam Cheng, EVP global operations at AstraZeneca.

The contract is the latest Big Pharma win for Samsung Biologics. In May, GlaxoSmithline (GSK) announced it had turned to the Korean CDMO for large-scale biomanufacturing in a deal worth $231 million. Samsung Biologics has also announced a plethora of contracts with smaller biopharma firms, including Belgian firm UCB, Cytdyn, and – within the past few months – PharmAbcine, Panolos Bioscience, Immunomedics, ImmuneOncia, and STCube.

Work on the AstraZeneca molecules will take place at Samsung Biologic’s plant number 3, the latest and largest facility at the Incheon site, boasting 180,000 L of mammalian cell culture capacity from 12 times 15,000 L tanks.

Plant number one has 30,000 L of capacity from six 5,000 L tanks. Plant number two offers 150,000 L of capacity through 10 times 15,000 L fermenters, plus a further two 1,000 L stainless steel tanks for clinical manufacture.

The CDMO has also laid plans for a fourth facility at the site, adding a further 256,000 L of capacity through a $2 billion investment. The firm expects to break ground on the 238,000 m2 plant this year, and when it is operational the site will further advance the company’s standing as the world’s largest manufacturing facility at a single location, with 620,000 L of capacity.

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