Samsung Biologics in $81 Million Deal with Novartis

13.06.2022 - In the their first-ever collaboration, South Korea’s Samsung Biologics and Switzerland’s Novartis have inked an initial $81 million contract manufacturing and development deal, Samsung said in a regulatory filing.

The Korean biotech, part of the vast Samsung industrial conglomerate, said the agreement represents 6.4% of its 2021 sales of $1.25 billion. It did not reveal details of what the cooperation with Novartis would involve, but analysts said the deal s fits well with the company’s plans to build up a global position in the CDMO sphere.

Samsung Biologics currently collaborates with a number of international drugmakers, and according to Korean press reports, it is swiftly gaining traction against its peers. In two trading days at the end of April, it squeaked by the world’s biggest CDMO, Lonza, in market capitalization, with a currency adjusted converted market cap of 59.43 trillion Korean won to Lonza’s 55.62 trillion won (42.85 Swiss francs).

The Samsung offshoot is already seen as ahead of Lonza in production capacity with current output of 364,000 liters at Plants 1, 2 and 3, compared with the Swiss CDMO’s 303,000 liters. When Plant 4, designed as the world’s largest single plant with a production capacity of 256,000 liters, is completed in 2023, its capacity will rise to 620,000 liters. 

As a major step toward lifting its profile, in February this year Samsung Biologics said it would buy out US biologics giant Biogen to take full control of joint venture Samsung Bioepis for $2.3 billion. Through the buyout, CEO John Rim said the Korean firm aims to develop into a biopharmaceutical firm on three pillars: CDMO, biosimilars and new drug development.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist