Samsung Bio set to begin construction of new $1.5B plant, the start of Bio Campus II

Nothing describes Samsung Biologics’ commitment to growth better than the verbiage in the company’s latest press release—“continuous capacity expansion.”

That’s exactly what the South Korean contract manufacturer has done since it opened shop a dozen years ago and what it plans to do until its massive, one-of-a-kind complex of eight manufacturing buildings is complete.

The CDMO announced Friday that it will start construction of Plant 5 in the first half of this year with a plan to commence operations there in 2025.

Samsung is pouring 1.9 trillion South Korean won ($1.46 billion) into the project, which will add 180,000 liters of capacity to the complex in Incheon, bringing total capacity to 784,000 liters, the most at a single site in the industry.

“Given the continuing increase in the demand for outsourced manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals, we are proactively making this investment in alignment with our growth strategy,” John Rim, CEO of Samsung Biologics, said in Friday's release. “The new facility will enable us to provide our customers with even greater innovation and services that will increase speed to market and flexibility.”

More significantly, the construction of Plant 5 means Samsung is breaking ground on its second Bio Campus. The first, consisting of four buildings, topped off by its ubiquitous Super Plant, is nearing completion. All told, the planned investment for Bio Campus II comes to 7.5 trillion South Korean won ($5.76 billion).

Eight months ago, Samsung said it had bought a 360,000-square-meter (89 acre) parcel of land adjacent to Bio Campus I. The purchase was for 426 billion won ($323 million). Samsung said at the time that it had plans to hire 400 employees each year and a total of 4,000 by 2032.

Plant 5 will further maximize operational efficiency by allowing the company to leverage existing capabilities, expertise and technologies acquired through experience at Plants 1 through 4, while introducing advanced digitization and sustainability features, Samsung explained.

Plant 4 began operations last October and will be fully operational in the middle of this year.

Samsung unveiled the news Friday in New York City at DCAT Week, an annual event for companies engaged in the bio/pharmaceutical manufacturing supply chain.  

Samsung Bio also said it is expanding its presence in the U.S., opening a regional office in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, to work in “closer proximity to its clients based in the U.S. and Europe."

Earlier this month, in a regulatory filing, Samsung Bio revealed it had signed a contract with Pfizer for 241 billion won ($183 million), which runs through 2029. Neither company revealed what work Samsung would perform for the U.S. pharma giant.

Pfizer becomes the seventh top 10 biopharma company to partner with Samsung Bio. Five months ago, Samsung made a $296 million deal with GSK, expanding on a previous agreement.

Two months ago, at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Rim said the company’s next major area of expansion would be into the manufacture of antibody-drug conjugates. At Samsung’s sprawling complex in Incheon, ADC manufacturing is expected to be ready within next year.

The company also announced Friday that Rim has been named the chairman of Samsung Bio’s board.