Samsung Biologics, a leading contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), has been recognized by the South Korean government for excellence in job creation. The company, which is based in South Korea and provides CDMO services to clients around the world, received the award in February 2022 amid significant growth in recent years.
The CDMO played a key role in mRNA vaccine production during the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to expand its facilities and portfolio, creating jobs in South Korea’s fast-growing biopharma sector in the process. Despite the ongoing impact of the pandemic, Samsung Biologics increased its employment rate by 37% in 2021, and it has demonstrated an annual employment increase rate of 43% over the past 10 years.
Job Creation To Meet Growing Demand
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the biopharmaceutical industry faced unprecedented demand for accelerated development of a COVID-19 vaccine. As biopharma companies raced to develop effective vaccines, they also looked for solutions to produce vaccines at the massive scale required to address a global pandemic.
As one of the largest CDMOs in the industry, Samsung Biologics was able to meet this need, utilizing its industry-leading manufacturing capacity to power mRNA vaccine production. Samsung was able to provide fill/finish services for Moderna’s mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, which provided millions of vaccine doses worldwide. Additionally, in November 2021, Samsung announced it will provide large-scale production of GreenLight Bioscience’s COVID-19 mRNA vaccine candidate.
“As soon as the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, we really focused around making sure that our supply chain and raw materials were robust,” said Samsung Biologics CEO John Rim in a recent interview with The Korea Society. “We’ve also operated our plants 365 days, 24/7, because we have strict protocols and business continuity management systems that enable us to manage through the COVID pandemic without a hitch.”
The CDMO’s commitment to continuous, safe production as demand increased during the pandemic resulted in significant job creation at a time when other industries struggled to maintain employees.
Expansion Fuels Opportunity
Samsung Biologics reported a revenue increase of 35% in 2021 as demand for CDMO manufacturing surged, and the company plans to continue to invest in expansions that promise to fuel more job creation.
“Through proactive investment in increasing our manufacturing capacity, enhancing portfolio diversification, and expanding facilities overseas, Samsung Biologics will be able to accelerate the build-up of its core success drivers as the next growth engine of the industry,” said Rim at the 40th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in January 2022.
Part of being a growth engine of the CDMO industry is catalyzing job growth, and Samsung Biologics stands to continue to do this with its construction of new facilities and a commitment to expanding its portfolio.
The CDMO is currently constructing its Plant 4 “zooSuper Plant,” which will be the world’s largest biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility of its kind once completed in early 2023. The plant will create new business and employment opportunities in its Incheon, South Korea, location.
A key driver of Samsung Biologics’ rapid expansion and job creation is its ability to construct plants quickly and efficiently.
“It took four years for our competitors to build (a facility), but it’s taking 32 months for us, shortening the construction period by 40%,” said Rim at a recent press conference in which he discussed Plant 4 along with plans for other facilities.
In addition to Plant 4, the CDMO is exploring the option to expand its business further in new modalities including cell and gene therapies and next-generation mRNA vaccines. mRNA technology stands to feature prominently in Samsung Biologics’ growth and job creation plans moving forward, with the company adding drug substance manufacturing capabilities to provide end-to-end mRNA vaccine production. With the expansion of its mRNA vaccine production capabilities, Samsung Biologics will create job opportunities in an area of biopharmaceutical technology that’s on the cutting edge of innovation and has significant growth potential.
Another area of innovation the CDMO is pursuing is biosimilars, biologic drugs that are highly similar to reference drugs but can be made at a lower cost. In January 2022, Samsung Biologics announced its acquisition of full ownership of Samsung Bioepis, a biosimilars venture it started in partnership with Biogen in 2012. Samsung Biologics will purchase Biogen’s 50% stake for $2.3 billion.
The Bioepis acquisition signals Samsung Biologics’ commitment to what Rim called “a multidimensional growth plan” at the 11th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders in March 2022. This plan includes “expanded manufacturing capacity, continued advancements in business portfolio, and a greater global footprint,” said Rim.
As the CDMO continues to diversify into a full-service biopharmaceutical company, its multidimensional growth in capabilities stands to create multidimensional growth in jobs.
Motivated To Grow
Samsung Biologics has quickly become one of the largest CDMOs in the world as it continues to add jobs across its business.
“We’ve gone from less than 100 people to almost 4,000 people. If you include Bioepis that’s another 1,000. And we anticipate to grow to 10,000 within several years,” Rim told The Korea Society.
Ultimately, Samsung Biologics plans to continue to build on its industry-leading CDMO services while expanding into other areas. This means more potential employment opportunities on both the development and manufacturing sides of biomedicines. While South Korea has recognized Samsung Biologics for its recent job creation, the company’s expansion plans signal that it is motivated and taking the appropriate steps to continue to create more jobs in the future.