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Samsung Biologics stands tall among pharma giants

Sept. 19, 2023 - 17:05 By Shim Woo-hyun
Samsung Biologics Plant 4 (Samsung Biologics)

South Korean biopharmaceutical company Samsung Biologics said Wednesday that the company achieved a stellar performance last year to stand shoulder to shoulder with top global pharmaceutical companies, buoyed by an array of large contract manufacturing deals.

The company has been ranked in 37th place in market research company GlobalData’s list of the world's top 50 pharmaceutical companies in 2022, up 13 spots from 2021.

According to the rankings, which listed companies based on their drug sales, Samsung Biologics’ 2022 revenue jumped to $2.4 billion from $1.3 billion in the previous year.

In 2023, Samsung Biologics is expected to continue its growth. According to Hana Securities, sales of Samsung Biologics are anticipated to surpass 3.7 trillion won ($2.7 billion) this year.

If achieved, it will be the first time for the company's annual sales to top 3 trillion won in the company's history.

The operating profit of Samsung Biologics is likely to surpass 1 trillion won in 2023 as well, which will make Samsung Biologics the first Korean biopharmaceutical company to post over 1 trillion won of operating profit, the securities firm added.

In the first half of 2023, Samsung Biologics has already posted around 1.6 trillion won of sales with 445 billion won of operating profit, despite expenses for building its fourth plant being included in its H1 result.

Earnings of Samsung Biologics are highly likely to be boosted in the third and fourth quarters, as revenues from the company’s Plant 4 will be included in its earnings reports, according to local news reports.

In 2023, Samsung Biologics secured multiple contract manufacturing deals for its fourth plant. “Utilization rate of the fourth plant, which has a manufacturing capacity of 240,000 liters, is currently going up at a fast pace,” an official from the company said.

Samsung Biologics' rapid growth came as the company started to sign big contracts with global pharmaceutical companies, particularly under Samsung Biologics CEO John Rim’s leadership, which took off in 2020.

Since then, Samsung Biologics has signed contract manufacturing deals with 14 of the top 20 global pharmaceutical firms, including GSK, Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Novartis, Pfizer and BMS.

In 2023 alone, the company’s accumulated order value reached some 2.7 trillion won, backed by its large-scale contracts with Pfizer, Novartis and BMS.

“John Rim’s network in the global pharmaceutical market and the company’s strategy to maximize customer satisfaction have been effective,” the Samsung Biologics official said.

The company's large production capacity, fast manufacturing speeds and consistent, high-quality output have also allowed it to expand deals with existing clients.

Samsung Biologics said its contracts with clients are usually in a minimum take or pay format, meaning they can be expanded upon clients’ request.

In 2022, seven out of 11 contracts were expanded, and their combined value went up to 880 billion won. In 2023, a total of seven contracts were expanded, and their value increased to 948 billion won.

Samsung Biologics currently plans to accelerate its growth further by clinching new orders for the company’s fifth plant, which will have an annual manufacturing capacity of 180,000 liters when the construction is completed in April 2025.

While securing a combined annual manufacturing capacity of 784,000 liters with its fifth plant, Samsung Biologics also plans to equip antibody-drug conjugates and mRNA pipelines to meet increasing demand for the new modalities.