Samsung adds mRNA vaccine substance production capability, eying a one-stop site

Samsung Biologics fill-finish
In addition to its fill-finish capability, Samsung Biologics will soon be able to produce bulk substance for mRNA vaccines. The addition will allow Samsung to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines from one site. (Samsung/Fierce Pharma)

Samsung Biologics now has a one-stop site to produce mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

The South Korea CDMO will add an mRNA vaccine substance manufacturing capability at its site in Sando near the port city of Incheon, which will be ready for operations early next year. The addition gives Samsung the ability to fully handle large-scale manufacturing and storage of the vaccine. 

The upgrade also allows Samsung to expand its portfolio beyond its current focus on the production of monoclonal antibodies.

“With this extended capability, we hope to support our partners in bringing novel mRNA vaccines and therapeutics to market at a faster pace,” Samsung CEO John Rim said in a statement.

Last week, Rim said that Samsung would soon begin performing fill-finish duties for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, allowing for market distribution in Korea, as well as exports, in the third quarter of this year.  

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It’s all coming together at once for Moderna in South Korea. Three days before the fill-finish deal was finalized, the vaccine won approval in the country, joining counterparts from AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson. 

Moderna has agreed to supply South Korea with 40 million doses, with no timeline set. The company also will supply Japan with 50 million COVID-19 vaccine doses under an agreement with Takeda.

RELATED: Moderna taps Samsung for fill-finish duties on ‘hundreds of millions’ of COVID-19 vaccine doses

Moderna has partnered with several CDMO giants on its COVID-19 vaccine production push, including Catalent, Spain’s Rovi and Switzerland’s Lonza.