UPDATED: Samsung BioLogics looking to tap IPO for as much as $2.6B this year

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Seoul-based biotech contract manufacturing firm Samsung BioLogics plans an initial public offering (IPO) this year that could fetch as much as $2.6 billion, Reuters reports, to fund an expansion strategy that would vault it to the top spot globally in capacity.

In November of last year the company announced an 850 billion Korean won ($740 million) plan to build an 180,000-liter-capacity facility next to its two other biologics manufacturing plants in Songdo and in addition to a 150,000 liter, $700 million plant detailed in early 2015.

The combined 360,000 liters of capacity will serve a host of leading companies seeking contract biologics manufacturing services such as Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) and Roche ($RHHBY).

Reuters, citing data service Evaluate Pharma, said the market for biologic drugs is slated to expand 52% to $278 billion by 2020 from 2015 levels as new products emerge from R&D and clinical efforts.

The Samsung conglomerate has embarked on an ambitious plan for biologic drugs, including its Incheon-based and unlisted Samsung Bioepis venture with Biogen ($BIIB) that took just four years to reach the first European nod for a biosimilar of Amgen ($AMGN) and Pfizer's ($PFE) autoimmune disease blockbuster Enbrel (etanercept).

Samsung BioLogics owns 90% of Samsung Bioepis, with reports suggesting the biosimilar-maker has looked at raising as much as $1.3 billion via a Nasdaq IPO on its own.

The Samsung BioLogics unit is majority-owned by holding firm Samsung C&T Corp., which won a shareholder battle last year over the management role of the family led by patriarch Lee Kun-hee, in part over plans about how the two companies will be valued. Another unit of the conglomerate, Samsung Electronics, owns a 46.8% stake in Samsung BioLogics, Reuters said.

The planned listing is for the KOSPI (Korea Composite Stock Price Index).

- here's the story from Reuters