Pfizer taps Samsung Biologics in long-term biosimilar production deal worth $411M

South Korea’s Samsung Biologics has captured a $411 million contract to manufacture biosimilars for pharma giant Pfizer.

Under the deal, Samsung has pledged “additional capacity for large-scale manufacturing for a multi-product biosimilars portfolio covering oncology, inflammation, and immunology.” The company described the deal as a "long-term" arrangement.

Pfizer's biosimilar portfolio features copycats to Roche's cancer trio of Rituxan, Avastin and Herceptin plus biosimilar versions of Johnson & Johnson's Remicade and Amgen's Neupogen.

The Samsung partnership will likely also include production of Pfizer’s biosimilar to AbbVie's Humira, The Korea Herald reports, citing industry experts. AbbVie recorded $21.24 billion in sales of Humira last year. Amgen is already marketing a Humira copycat, but Pfizer and many other players are set to enter the market this year.

In a financial filing, Samsung Biologics put the value of the Pfizer deal at $411 million, making it the biggest of its nature for the company and surpassing its previous top deal of $359.7 million with AstraZeneca.

This agreement also follows Samsung Biologics’ earlier $184 million deal signed with Pfizer back in March.

“This new meaningful partnership comes just as our Plant 4 is fully completed early this month as we had previously committed and are on the move for future expansion into our second campus in order to provide our clients with even more flexible and advanced manufacturing technology,” John Rim, Samsung Biologics’ president and CEO, said in a statement.

Separately, the company announced Tuesday that it expects its $1.5 billion Plant 5 to open by April 2025.

When operational, the site will add 180,000 liters of capacity to the company's campus in Incheon, South Korea, bringing total capacity there to 784,000 liters, the most at a single site in the industry. Previously, the company had a target of opening the facility sometime in 2025.