Contract development and manufacturing organization Samsung Biologics reported revenue of 720.9 billion South Korean won (roughly $538 million) for the first quarter of 2023. The year-over-year increase of 209.6 billion won from Q1 2022 marks the CDMO’s 13th consecutive quarter of revenue growth.

Samsung Biologics, which partners with pharmaceutical companies to develop and manufacture biologic medicines ranging from antibodies to vaccines, also saw a year-over-year increase in operating profit, increasing from 176.4 billion won in Q1 2022 to 191.7 billion won in Q1 2023.

“Enabled by the groundwork we have laid with our strategic capacity expansion plans, our first quarter results demonstrate stable revenue growth as we continue to drive strong operational excellence and business agility with full utilization of Plants 1, 2, and 3,” said John Rim, president and CEO.

Looking ahead at Samsung Biologics’ fiscal outlook for the remainder of 2023, Rim was optimistic. He pointed out that the CDMO’s fourth plant, which is fully operational since June, and the company has already secured several contracts to manufacture monoclonal antibodies at the plant. Rim also mentioned plans to begin construction of Plant 5.

“With continued partnership expansion with global pharma, we are focused on achieving sustainable growth and securing more robust capacity with Plant 4 set to be fully operational by June and the groundbreaking of Plant 5 to occur later this year. We will continue to anticipate client needs and execute on opportunities to meet the increasing market demand for biomanufacturing capacity.”

Samsung Biologics’ 2023 CDMO Growth Trajectory

Samsung Biologics expects to continue to grow based on both building on its existing capabilities and expanding into new areas. In 2022, the CDMO established an end-to-end mRNA vaccine production facility. It also completed the full acquisition of Samsung Bioepis, a biosimilars company with an established portfolio of low-cost biologics with immunology and oncology applications and several other products in its pipeline. Samsung Biopepis was founded by Samsung Biologics as a joint venture with Biogen, but the CDMO has now assumed full ownership.

At the J.P. Morgan Healthcare conference in January, Rim hinted that there may be opportunities for biosimilars to obtain some of the market share occupied by traditional biologic drugs. The patent for Humira, which treats arthritis and is the world’s top-selling drug, is set to expire in 2023, and Samsung Bioepis recently announced that it’s received Food and Drug Administration approval for Hadlima, a biosimilar that mirrors the effects of Humira.

AbbVie, the company that makes Humira, has forecast a drop in the drug’s market share by at least 37% this year due in large part to competition from biosimilars.

“From a portfolio perspective, we have the broadest biosimilar portfolio, with 10 products,” said Rim at the conference. “The biggest opportunity for us this year will be the launch of the Humira biosimilar, which will happen in July.”

Rim also mentioned that Samsung Biologics will pursue strategic investment in antibody-drug conjugates in the near future, with plans to build an ADC facility by the end of 2024. The CDMO also recently invested in ADC-focused Araris Biotech AG through the Samsung Life Science Fund, which it operates with Samsung C&T.

In addition to these portfolio diversification efforts, Samsung Biologics continues to increase its manufacturing capacity. Plant 4 is now fully operational, adding 240,000 liters to the CDMO’s industry-leading capacity, reaching a total of 604,000. The plant is the largest facility of its kind.

Rim also revealed plans for Plant 5 at the J.P. Morgan conference. The plant will be located on Samsung Biologics’ second Bio Campus, which will also house an open innovation center to help connect and support innovative companies in South Korea’s fast-growing biotech industry.

At 96,000 square meters (about 23.72 acres), Plant 5 will encompass just over a quarter of Bio Campus II’s 357,366 square meters of land in Songdo, South Korea. Upon completion, it’s expected to add another 180,000 liters of manufacturing capacity, bringing Samsung Biologics’ total to 784,000 liters.

“Given the continuing increase in the demand for outsourced manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals, we are proactively making this investment in alignment with our growth strategy to further strengthen our standing as a leading CDMO,” said Rim in a press release announcing plans for Plant 5. “The new facility will enable us to provide our customers with even greater innovation and services that will increase speed to market and flexibility.”

Portfolio diversification and increasing manufacturing are two pillars of Samsung Biologics three-pillared multidimensional growth plan, which Rim implemented following his appointment as CEO in 2020. The third pillar is international expansion, and the CDMO is pursuing growth on this front as well.

After running a research and development center in San Francisco for several years, Samsung Biologics has recently established  operations on the East Coast of the U.S. It opened a sales office in Ridgefield, New Jersey, in March 2023. At the J.P. Morgan conference, Rim explained that adding a new office will help the company streamline communications for clients in the U.S. and Europe as it continues to expand.

“The sales office will allow Samsung Biologics to establish a permanent communication channel in a place with high geographical accessibility to customers and increase satisfaction.”

By Manali