The scientific and pharmaceutical industry long knew the importance of research into viral diseases and how to prevent and treat them. But the COVID-19 pandemic forced the entire world to re-evaluate how it looked at viruses, colds, and flus. Once global economies ground to a halt and the world remained at a standstill, it became obvious that research and development were key to humanity’s survival.
Industries exist to assist pharmaceutical researchers and companies unlock the secrets to combating viruses and diseases. These companies, known as contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs), can distribute life-saving vaccines and therapies to improve people’s lives and to push medical progress forward. They handle manufacturing and quality control for every single dose so that the researchers in charge of developing these medications don’t have to be bogged down in the day-to-day required for those tasks. CDMOs give researchers and developers time to create and innovate when it comes to dealing with viruses.
Samsung Biologics, a global CDMO rose to the occasion and drove forward in expanding and adding more services and more locations in order to assist the medical world in the important task of solving the pandemic. As more and more people have been vaccinated and the business world has slowly reopened, Samsung Biologics has proactively moved towards becoming the world’s most reliable CDMO, at the service of researchers, development companies and big pharmas.
New Vaccine Capabilities
In the year 2021, Samsung Biologics saw the trend in COVID-19 vaccines and decided to be prepared to help companies and researchers develop the vaccines that they wanted, through adding more capabilities to their facilities.
After a profitable first quarter report in 2021, CEO John Rim stated, “Our first-quarter financial performance was in line with our expectations and provides us with a strong start to the 2021 fiscal year. We have maintained a solid performance, and continue to see momentum from our expanding CDMO business globally while simultaneously making continuous advancements in our biosimilar subsidiary and new business models. As the world continues to navigate the difficult times amid COVID-19, we remain committed to supporting our clients and patients in delivering life-saving therapeutics in a timely manner.”
That profitability and success only drove Samsung Biologics to do more. A mRNA vaccine DS production capability will be added to the facility in Songdo, South Korea. The capability will be available in 2022. The company saw vaccine developers choosing to use mRNA for COVID-19 vaccines due to their high potency and safety.
The science behind mRNA vaccines works as well. The American Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a report that stated that COVID-19 mRNA vaccines reduce infection risk by 91 percent after two doses and 81 percent after one dose. Those who did catch the virus after vaccination experienced the mildest symptoms.
mRNA vaccines teach the cells in the body to make a protein that triggers an immune response. That immune response creates the antibodies which provide the actual defense against a virus.
The new addition to the Songdo facility will allow the CDMO to offer pharmaceutical companies end-to-end mRNA vaccine manufacturing services from bulk drug substance to aseptic fill/finish including labeling and packaging, along with cold chain storage.
A new R&D facility was opened in San Francisco as well last year. Samsung Biologics planned to bring its services to the pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. The CDMO also offers proprietary cell line technology, S-CHOice. This technology improves cell viability and improved titers twice as much over the industry average.
Partnership with Moderna
Samsung Biologics announced on May 23, 2021, that it had entered into an agreement with pharmaceutical company and vaccine developer Moderna. The leading CDMO agreed to provide large-scale, commercial fill-finish manufacturing for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273.
This service will help Moderna deliver its life-saving vaccine across the globe. According to Fortune, as of June 8, only 12 percent of the world’s population had received a COVID-19 vaccine. Many of the world’s poorer nations’ populations have yet to receive any sort of vaccine, particularly countries in Africa and the Middle East. COVID-19 is still a valid threat and a scourge to these countries, who desperately need their economies to function in order to help themselves rise above their impoverished status.
The Samsung deal with Moderna will start immediately upon execution. The CDMO plans to use their state of the art production line equipped for aseptic fill-finish, labeling, and packaging services to produce hundreds of millions of doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.
“This vaccine is paramount to people around the world in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and we truly appreciate our client Moderna for entrusting and choosing to partner with Samsung Biologics for the fill and finish of this important vaccine,” said John Rim, CEO of Samsung Biologics. “Due to the high level of urgency in supplying the vaccine to the global population, we have set immediate action plans and schedules to make mRNA-1273 available for commercial distribution in the early second half of 2021.”
“We are pleased to partner with Samsung Biologics for this fill and finish manufacturing, which will help us continue to scale up our manufacturing capacity outside of the U.S.,” said Juan Andres, Moderna’s Chief Technical Operations and Quality Officer. “We and our manufacturing partners remain committed to defeating the COVID-19 pandemic.”