With pharmaceutical companies and innovators seeking CDMOs to provide quality services in order to distribute life-saving treatments to those in need, contract development and manufacturing companies (CDMOs) are in even higher demand during the battle against COVID-19 and its variants.
While many CDMOs have distinguished themselves during the global pandemic, one company, in particular, has maintained both steady growth and service expansion as well as a strong financial performance. In spite of the challenge presented by the pandemic, Samsung Biologics managed to succeed on an international scale and in its own industry.
Samsung Biologics worked with many top-of-the-line pharmaceutical companies to help assist in the production and distribution of products such as the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, and other biopharmaceutical therapies. It also focused on improving its own sustainability, expanded its service offerings, and maintained a fiscally sound quarterly earnings.
Positive Earnings Outpace Expectations, Reveal Strong Momentum
In the quarterly report, Samsung Biologics’ numbers pointed to a steady rise and a consistent achievement of goals set by the company.
During the second quarter, revenue increased by 34 percent, compared to the previous year’s revenue. The company brought in 412.2 billion won, or $360 million USD, from April to June. Furthermore, the operating profit increased 105.7 percent. The profit between April and June amounted to 166.8 billion won, or $100 million USD.
John Rim, CEO of Samsung Biologics, stated, “The second-quarter financial performance demonstrates our ability to maintain steady operations despite the global supply disruptions brought on by the pandemic and our commitment to delivering life-saving treatments to patients within an expedited timeline. Recently, we announced our expansion plans in mRNA vaccine manufacturing, in line with our three-dimensional growth plans laid out earlier on in the year. Construction and presales of our Plant 4 are on track, and we will take on new initiatives as we continue our strong momentum across our business portfolio and growth plans.”
mRNA Expansion Plans Set Foundation For Success
In addition to the successful and stable financial earnings statement, the company also announced a plan to add an mRNA vaccine drug substance manufacturing suite to expand its already extensive portfolio of services, with a fully integrated one-stop service, state-of-the-art facilities, and dedicated employees with proven expertise.
Messenger RNA vaccines are one of the latest forms of vaccine meant to protect the human body against infectious diseases. While most traditional vaccines put a weakened or inactive virus into our bodies, the mRNA vaccine teaches human cells how to make a protein to trigger an immune response. The immune response produces antibodies, which protect humans from infections from the real virus.
In order to produce mRNA vaccines, a biopharmaceutical company or CDMO must begin with in-vitro transcription, which takes linearized pDNA and synthesizes it to form mRNA in a reactor. The mRNA is then purified using chromatography and ultrafiltration or diafiltration to prepare for the formulation stage. Then, the purified and filtered mRNA is placed into Lipid Nanoparticles (LNP) through precise pump mixing technology to prevent degradation and to allow for in vivo delivery.
These vaccines, while somewhat new, have great potential. They have been studied before in relation to the flu, the Zika virus, rabies, and cytomegalovirus (CMV), and in the future, mRNA vaccines might be able to provide protection against multiple viruses and diseases, instead of just one. Cancer research has also trained mRNA to trigger the immune system to target and fight against cancer cells.
In the latest mRNA manufacturing contract with Moderna, Samsung Biologics agreed to provide aseptic fill-finish as well as packaging and labeling of Moderna’s COVID-19 mRNA vaccine. Senior VP, Chief Information and Marketing Officer, and Head of Investor Relations James Choi said, “We see great potential for mRNA technology to address a broader range of diseases, beyond COVID-19.”
Plans for the Future
In order to remain competitive in the pharmaceutical industry, Samsung Biologics has begun investing in further expansion for the upcoming year, including planning a second Bio Campus.
A fourth plant is also on track for full completion by 2023. Once this plant is completed, Samsung Biologics will offer a combined sum of 620,000 liters from a single site. The plant will also offer clients state-of-the-art capabilities from early-stage development to large-scale commercial manufacturing with integrated aseptic fill/finish capabilities and a full QC Lab for testing services.