Samsung BioLogics to make third UCB drug substance

CDMO Samsung BioLogics will make a minimum of $70 million worth of three products for UCB from its facilities in South Korea.

A spokesperson from Samsung BioLogics told this publication the extended deal with Belgium-headquarters pharma firm UCB means a third drug substance will be made by the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) from its site in Songdo, Incheon.

The two companies entered into a master services agreement in July 2018. The latest product to be made by Samsung BioLogics is UCB’s anti-tau antibody UCB0107, currently in Phase I clinical studies to treat progressive supranuclear palsy.

Image: AdobeStock/Maksym Dykha

The CDMO is also manufacturing UCB’s bimekizumab (IL17AF) in trials for psoriasis and psoriasis arthritis, and rozanolixizumab (UCB7665) in trials for myasthenia gravis.

“I can say the approximate minimum committed binding amount of 3 products is about $70 million [€63 million],” the spokesperson said.

The total capacity utilized by UCB has not been disclosed. However, we were told the current utilization rate across the CDMO’s three plants in Songdo is increased compared to 2018, due to “client satisfaction with high quality products as well as ramping up at plant three.”

The site has a total stainless steel bioreactor capacity of 362,000 L, including 180,000 L from the third plant which began production in October 2018. The plant has been described as the world’s largest single biomanufacturing facility, with 12 x 15,000 L stainless steel tanks installed.

For the second quarter 2019, Samsung BioLogics reported an operating loss of KRW 5.4 billion ($13 million). Meanwhile, sales were down by KRW 47.3 billion compared to the previous quarter, attributed to “regular maintenance essential for biopharmaceutical manufacturing” at the firm’s second 152,000 L plant.

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