Samsung Biologics speeds $2B plant build forecast to boost capacity 70%

Samsung Biologics is pushing for early completion of its new $2 billion manufacturing facility in an effort to meet increased demand and boost the South Korean CMO giant’s profits.

Originally scheduled for a late 2023 completion date, James Choi, a senior vice president for Samsung Biologic, told Bloomberg, “we think the entire plant will be fully ready by the middle of 2023.” The facility will be located at the company’s sprawling manufacturing complex in Incheon, South Korea.

The project’s completion is expected to increase production capacity by about 70%, as demand for mRNA- and RNA-based treatments have exploded due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Samsung, which manufactures Moderna’s vaccine, was facing the prospect of demands based on current orders and contracts outpacing the current production capacity of its three existing Incheon plants in 2023, according to Korea Investors Service cited by the news agency. With the fourth plant online, the ratings agency expects the company to increase profits.

Choi added Samsung is looking at acquisition opportunities in the U.S., Europe and Asia that would increase its production capacity.

The new factory, known as Plant 4, was announced over a year ago and has been touted as a “super plant” that will dwarf the company’s other three plants on the site, with 2.56 million square feet of floor space and 256,000 liters of capacity, doubling its overall capacity to 620,000 liters.

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The pandemic has been an economic powerhouse for many global pharmaceutical manufacturers that have gone on a construction spending spree. Thursday, Moderna said it will drop $500 million to build a vaccine production facility in an undesignated African country.

Samsung has said global demand for COVID-19 vaccines represented about 65% of its total sales last year. The company recently reported its contract with Roche soared to more than 10x its original value of $35.3 million to $403.85 million.