Samsung Biologics expanded its biopharmaceutical manufacturing collaboration with AstraZeneca based on a deal in May which followed the signing of a long-term strategic deal made in September 2020. Under the agreement, valued at approximately $380 million up from the initial $331 million for the production of a drug substance and product, Samsung Biologics manufactures AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 long-acting antibody (LAAB) combination, AZD7442, and will start to manufacture a cancer immunotherapy product next year.

AZD7442 is a combination of two LAABs being developed for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. AZD7442 is the first LAAB to receive an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA for COVID-19 prevention, and it has also received authorizations from France, Italy, and Bahrain, according to Samsung officials.

AZD7442 has the potential to complement national vaccination programs by providing additional protection for those considered at increased risk of an inadequate response to a COVID-19 vaccine, including people who are immunocompromised, patients on dialysis, oncology patients, those taking medications after an organ transplant or those who are taking immunosuppressive drugs for conditions, including multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, notes a spokesperson at AstraZeneca.

“Over the past year Samsung Biologics has been a highly capable and collaborative partner on our novel COVID-19 long-acting antibody combination,” says Pam Cheng, executive vice president, global operations and IT, AstraZeneca. “We are excited about expanding our work together into cancer immunotherapy and about laying the foundation for continued growth of our collaboration in the years ahead.”

John Rim, CEO of Samsung Biologics, points out that the company has focused on accommodating the varying needs of clients, including the building of an additional facility, Plant 4. Upon completion, it will provide the company with a biomanufacturing capacity of 620,000L. Samsung Biologics is also adding a messenger RNA vaccine drug substance manufacturing suite to the current facility in Songdo, South Korea, which is expected to be ready for cGMP operations within the earlier part of the year in 2022.

Separately, Samsung reports that the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety of Korea issued a marketing authorization for Spikevax®, Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA-1273), which is manufactured by Samsung Biologics.