Samsung Biologics to double bioreactor capacity with $1.5 bn new plant

  • 2020-08-11

Samsung Biologics Co. Ltd., the world’s largest contract manufacturing organization (CMO) in terms of capacity, will invest 1.74 trillion won ($1.5 billion) to build its fourth plant in South Korea, in a move to widen its lead with second-ranked Boehringer Ingelheim.

The new plant, to be built in Songdo, west of Seoul, will have the world’s largest bioreactor capacity of 256,000 liters and will be operational from the end of 2022, according to its regulatory filing on August 11.

The company’s total bioreactor capacity will nearly double to 620,000 liters from 364,000 liters, representing about 30% of global capacity. This compares with the 300,000-liter capacity of Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim and 280,000 liters of Swiss rival Lonza AG. The two CMO companies have also been expanding their capacity to meet growing demand.

“Now we are able to improve our competitiveness by substantially widening the gap. We will ensure that other companies cannot catch up with us in terms of quality, speed and customer satisfaction,” Samsung Biologics CEO Tae Han Kim said in a news conference.

The investment earmarked for the new plant is more than double the 850 billion won it put into its third facility, which currently has the world’s largest bioreactor capacity of 180,000 liters.

So far this year, Samsung Biologics has secured 1.8 trillion won in new orders, more than four times  what it received last year. That points to an increase in its operation rate.

South Korean CMO companies, including SK Biopharmaceuticals Co. Ltd., have been operating their facilities as normal, notwithstanding the spread of the coronavirus.

Samsung Biologics’s operating profit shot up to 143.7 billion won in the first half of this year, exceeding the 91.7 billion won it earned for the entire 2019.

By Woo-sub Kim

duter@hankyung.com

<Edited by Yeonhee Kim>