Samsung Bio in $150m deal to make COVID antibodies for Lilly

Korean CDMO Samsung Biologics will produce COVID-19 antibody therapies for Eli Lilly as it signs another multi-hundred-million-dollar contract with a Big Pharma firm.

Eli Lilly originally approached contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Samsung Biologics in May as it looked to secure capacity for its range of potential COVID-19 treatments.

Samsung was able to manufacture and deliver an initial supply of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) within five months, and as such the CDMO has become a strategic partner for Eli Lilly in a deal worth close to $150 million.

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“The contract value of the deal is USD 149,999,994. The deal is a long-term supply agreement between Samsung and Lilly, including COVID-19 treatment,” a spokesperson from Samsung Biologics told us.

“Our team of experts at Samsung and Lilly worked very collaboratively including daily conference calls, to shorten the delivery timeline as much as possible.”

No further details were given regarding to therapies or capacity.

Eli Lilly has several potential therapies being trialed against SARS-CoV-2. The two most promising are virus neutralizing antibodies for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19 – LY-CoV555 and LY-CoV016, respectively forged through a collaboration with AbCellera in March and a license deal with Junshi Biosciences in May.

Samsung Biologics is one of several CDMOs to be contracted by Lilly in anticipation of commercialization of its monoclonal antibodies against COVID-19. Other third-party manufacturers include Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies and Amgen.

For Samsung Biologics, Lilly becomes the latest pharma giant to end up on its books. In September, the CDMO inked a deal worth $331 million with AstraZeneca, and in May GSK entered into a $231 million deal with the firm.

Samsung Biologics has also announced a plethora of contracts with smaller biopharma firms, including Belgian firm UCBCytdyn, and – within the past few months – PharmAbcinePanolos BioscienceImmunomedicsImmuneOncia, and STCube.

The timing of this latest deal comes as Samsung Biologics broke ground on its fourth facility at its site in Songdo, Korea. The so-called ‘P4 Super Plant’ – which represents an investment of 2 trillion won ($1.8 billion) – will boast 256,000 L of manufacturing capacity when it opens in 2023, giving the CDMO a total 620,000 L across its site.

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