BioProcess Insider Interviews Kevin Sharp

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For the on-demand virtual BPI Theater at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s annual convention, BioProcess Insider founding editor Dan Stanton conducted a series of interviews to discuss trends in biomanufacturing. Here, we summarize his conversation with Kevin Sharp, director of the Global Business Development Center for Samsung Biologics.

The COVID-19 pandemic has compelled substantial changes across the biopharmaceutical industry. But Sharp reported that South Korean CDMO Samsung Biologics is weathering the storm. Samsung quickly joined the South Korean government’s efforts to curtail COVID-19. Thanks to several countermeasures, the CDMO has kept employees safe while minimizing disruptions to operations. Sharp explained that virtual due-diligence meetings, facility tours, and inspections have helped the company keep pace with projects.

Early implementation of continuity plans also enabled Samsung to secure supply chains and open precious capacity. Sharp explained that the company’s strategic expansions over the past decade have established industry-leading capacity: 364,000 L across its three sites. “That has put us in a position to help [alleviate the] global constraint in the supply chain.” The CDMO hopes to take on COVID-related vaccines and treatments while continuing with existing projects. “Essentially, Samsung Biologics . . . was building ahead of the curve to prepare for situations such as [COVID-19].” Samsung plans to open a fourth site in the United States late in 2020.

Sharp continued that part of Samsung’s desire to expand stems from its movement into new service offerings, including a cell-line development program. Company executives observed significant demand from clients for cell-line development expertise that could accelerate clinical and commercial production. Thus, Samsung sought to build “an integrated model for supply for our clients, trying to service them as early as [possible] all the way through drug-product manufacturing.”

Sharp imagined that CDMOs across the biopharmaceutical industry soon will adopt similar strategies, expanding ancillary services, engaging clients earlier in their programs, and increasing analytical support. In that sense, CDMOs increasingly hope to offer their clients “a combination of simplification and robustness.”

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