|Samsung Biologics CEO John Rim delivers a presentation at the J.P. Morgan Health Care Conference, Wednesday. Courtesy of Samsung Biologics|
LG Chem unveils pipeline of 40 novel drugs at J.P. Morgan conference
By Nam Hyun-woo
Samsung Biologics' new CEO John Rim said the company will pursue multidimensional expansion in the biopharmaceutical industry, ranging from its existing contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) business to developing proprietary new drugs.
Rim made the remarks at the 2021 J. P. Morgan Health Care Conference which was held online. Samsung Biologics appeared as a main track presenter at the conference for the fifth-consecutive year. The main track is reserved for globally renowned healthcare firms, while the emerging markets track focuses on promising firms.
"Our next decade will be marked by increased business expansion and portfolio diversification," Rim said. "While continuing to achieve best-in-class CDMO services and become a champion in the biosimilar business, we will also lay the groundwork for novel drug development, to ultimately become a full-service biopharmaceutical company."
Samsung Biologics consolidated its status as one of the leading biologics contract manufacturers in the world shortly after its establishment in 2011. Currently, it is the world's largest contract manufacturing organization in the world with its three plants possessing a combined capacity of 364,000 liters of drugs.
Last year, Samsung Biologics signed over $1.7 billion in contract manufacturing deals, a record for the company, and said it currently has an order backlog nearly reaching its full production capacity.
Rim said the company's primary focus this year will be to accelerate the construction of a fourth manufacturing plant to meet global demand and secure early contract lock-ins for that facility. Plant 4 is now under construction in Incheon, with a production capacity of 256,000 liters of drugs. Samsung Biologics aims to complete construction in 2023.
As part of its long-term growth strategy, Rim said the company also plans to secure manufacturing bases overseas.
Samsung Biologics said its first overseas contract development R&D center opened in San Francisco, while contract development centers are also being eyed in Boston, Europe and China following a significant increase in the number of development contracts won last year.
Rim added that the company is considering product diversification to encompass future applications such as vaccines and cell-gene therapies, while venturing into new business models according to its growth roadmap.
"The strategic investments and portfolio diversification outlined today signify the momentum in our business, as well as lay the foundation for the long-term growth opportunity ahead of us," Rim added. "We will look beyond the next decade and evolve as the global top-tier biopharmaceutical company by securing future growth engines with continued investment and expansion in capacity, portfolio, and global footprint."
The J.P. Morgan Health Care Conference marked Rim's first official appearance as the new CEO of Samsung Biologics.
LG Chem targets global market with rich pipeline
LG Chem, which has its own pharmaceutical division, also participated in this year's J.P. Morgan conference and presented some of the highlights in its pipeline that includes more than 40 novel drug candidates.
One of them is a gout treatment candidate, LC350189, which is scheduled to conclude Phase 2 clinical studies in the U.S. in the second quarter of this year. LG Chem said LC350189 showed efficacy in lowering uric acid levels with just a single tablet taken a day during Phase 1 trials, with no adverse signs of hepatotoxicity.
Phase 1 trials for hereditary obesity treatment, LB54640, are currently under way in the U.S., according to LG Chem. If approved, LB54640 will be the first oral drug in that class. In September, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted an Orphan Drug Designation to the drug, which enables a seven-year monopoly after obtaining authorization.
"LG Chem invested more than 600 billion won ($547.8 million) for R&D in pharmaceuticals and increased the number of its pipeline projects to more than 40 in the past four years after the merger between LG Chem and LG Life Sciences," said Son Jee-woong, head of the life science business. "By expanding clinical trials in the U.S., we will secure competitiveness and lay the foundations to become a global biopharmaceutical company." LG Chem and LG Life Sciences merged in 2016.