Samsung BioLogics Co., a biopharmaceutical business arm of South Korea’s top conglomerate Samsung Group, has signed its first contract development organization (CDO) contracts with three pharmaceutical firms including a mid-sized American drug company at the world’s largest biotechnology and pharma conference being held in Boston, the United States.
Samsung BioLogics that has expanded its portfolio from a leading contract manufacturing organization (CMO) to a CDO announced on Wednesday (local time) that it has signed contracts with three companies including one U.S. and two Korean firms at the BIO International Convention.
The deals come after Samsung BioLogics completed mechanical construction of its third manufacturing facility last November, solidifying its position as the world’s leading CMO.
The company signed a deal with ImmuneOncia Therapeutics Inc., a joint venture between Korea’s Yuhan Corporation and U.S. Sorrento Therapeutics Inc., as well as with GI Innovation Inc., a bio venture that spun off from first-generation clinical stage biotechnology company Genexine Inc., respectively. The U.S. mid-size pharmaceutical firm has not been disclosed.
Under the deals, Samsung BioLogics will develop cell trains that are the source allowing mass production of biomedicines to the three companies and be responsible for candidate substance production used in first clinical trials after setting up incubation, refining, and analysis platform.
An unnamed official from Samsung BioLogics said that the company had reviewed business expansion from CMO to CDO since 2016 when it solidified its leading position in the global CMO market after launching construction of its third manufacturing facility. The latest contracts are the first-ever CDO deals to be won by Samsung BioLogics.
Currently, multinational pharmaceutical firm Lonza holds a 20 to 30 percent share in the global CDO market competing with more than 100 mostly small- and mid-size firms. Lonza has been a dominant player for more than 20 years.
When Samsung BioLogics announced to advance into the CDO market in July last year, it filed an invalid patent lawsuit against Lonza in Korea for technology that involves transferring DNA into cells to make cell strains. Lonza currently holds patent rights to this technology in three countries - Korea, India, and China - after it filed applications in major countries including the U.S., Europe, and Japan. The lawsuit in Korea is still ongoing.
Industry insiders noted that Samsung BioLogics and Lonza will compete fiercely in the CDO market in addition to the CMO market.
Shares of Samsung BioLogics ended at 420,000 won ($392.7) on Thursday, down 0.24 percent from the previous session.
By Shin Chan-ok and Lee Eun-joo
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