GSK in Manufacturing Pact with Samsung Biologics

25.05.2020 -

GlaxoSmithKline has agreed an eight-year, $231 million, pact with South Korean CDMO Samsung Biologics to scale up manufacturing of biologics. The capacity Samsung provides will be flexible depending on GSK’s future needs, the UK’s biggest drugmaker said.

The deal will initially cover lupus drug Benlysta, for which the first commercial supply expected in 2022; however, the arrangement can be extended to other GSK specialty-care products in future.

GSK’s biologics portfolio is still relatively thin right now. In addition to Benlysta, which generated sales of £613 million in 2019, it includes asthma drug Nucala, with sales of £768 million, though but sales levels total pale in comparison to Merck & Co’s Keytruda or AbbVie’s Humira, which have revenues in the billions.

According to analysts, the added Samsung capacities could benefit GSK’s oncology pipeline, which it recently boosted with the acquisition of Tesaro for $5.1 billion.

The British pharma’s anti-BCMA antibody-drug conjugate belantamab mafodotin is currently  under priority review with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the indication relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma.

Samsung Biologics has been aggressively expanding its manufacturing footprint lately, after investing $2.6 billion in three plants with combined capacity of 362,000 l. In 2019, the company’s sales revenue surged by nearly 31% to 701.6 billion won ($565 million).

In April, the South Korean CDMO inked a $362 million deal with US-based Vir Biotechnology to help boost production of monoclonal antibodies to potentially treat COVID-19. In its search for manufacturing partners, Vir has also signed on with Wuxi Biologics and Biogen and expanded an existing RNAi partnership with Alnylam.