Samsung backtracks on executive’s remarks about timing for 4th biologics plant

Samsung BioLogics South Korea
Samsung BioLogics completed a third manufacturing plant in November, giving it a total of 362,000 liters of biologics capacity. (Samsung BioLogics South Korea)

South Korea’s Samsung is tamping down investor excitement about a fourth biologics manufacturing site after Samsung BioLogics' CEO suggested it could be built sooner.  

The company told the Korea Herald on Monday that a plant is under review but no timetable has been set. Samsung is concentrating instead on expanding its client base for its third plant, which is being validated after being completed in November.

The company released the statement after its shares spiked following a report that Samsung BioLogics CEO Kim Tae-han raised the possibility of a fourth plant in comments in an interview following his presentation at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco last week.

RELATED: Samsung reports operating profit as third plant nears completion

During his presentation, Kim talked about how Samsung now has the largest biologics manufacturing of any CMO at 362,000 liters after completing the 180,000-liter third plant in Songdo in November. The company achieved the massive buildup in just seven years with an investment of 3 trillion won, about $2.6 billion.

“We are not only proud of the largest manufacturing capacity but we also have an extremely shorter construction timeline,” Kim said in the recorded presentation. “Samsung is maybe the only company that could do that.”

Samsung indicated to the newspaper that a fourth plant would depend on the success of clinical trials that clients Roche and Biogen are conducting on Alzheimer's drugs that are not slated to be complete until 2019. Alzheimer’s has proven to be a very difficult disease for which to develop an effective treatment. Partners Biogen and Eisai last month reported that an early readout for anti-amyloid beta drug BAN2401 in Alzheimer’s disease did not look hopeful but that they are not giving up on the program yet.