After the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the global market and affected every business and economy, it became apparent that medication, therapies, and vaccines were needed to allow the world to return to a semblance of normalcy. Contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) became incredibly useful to the medical and biopharmaceutical industry to help boost the production of mRNA vaccines. Companies like Samsung Biologics, a leading CDMO, expanded and innovated to help multiple pharmaceutical companies meet the demands for preventative care.
“The use of mRNA technologies in the production of vaccines in response to COVID-19 has demonstrated the effectiveness and potential of the technology,” said Executive Vice President James Choi. Samsung Biologics invested heavily in new facilities and new tools that could assist their partners with anything they needed.
CDMOs may aid these businesses in bringing these biologics to market more quickly and effectively. These CDMOs often have many facilities located in strategic locations across the globe, which enables firms to produce doses for underprivileged regions that need vaccinations. However, these CDMOs have had to prepare for and stay current with rapidly changing technology and regulatory regulations in order to serve these pharmaceutical businesses. The focus on quality, flexibility, and expansion has been critical in ensuring that effective vaccination doses reach the widest possible population.
Development of mRNA Technology for Partners
As part of its long-term strategy, Samsung Biologics has already expanded its business portfolio and production capacity to meet growing industry demand. By the first half of 2022, the CDMO will be ready to provide pharmaceutical firms end-to-end mRNA vaccine production services from its Songdo plant, including labeling and packaging, as well as cold chain storage.
mRNA provides a great deal of potential for future medical study. mRNA vaccines have been studied before for the flu, Zika virus, rabies, and cytomegalovirus (CMV), and in the future, they may provide protection against several viruses and diseases rather than just one. On the other hand, cancer research has taught mRNA how to direct the immune system’s search for and destruction of cancerous cells. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a surge in demand for novel therapeutics for both current and noncontagious illnesses.
The mRNA vaccine, one of the most recent medical discoveries, may help prevent the transmission of pathogenic viruses such as COVID-19. It’s been shown to be effective in combating the virus, giving a method of prevention and mitigating the severity of any outbreaks. According to the CDC, messenger RNA vaccines instruct cells to produce a protein, eliciting an immune response. Antibodies are created during the immunological response to protect the body against viral infection.
“CDMOs must not only familiarise themselves with this technology quickly but also be fully equipped with the right capacity and capabilities, as demand for manufacturing support for mRNA products is set to increase further,” said Choi to the European Pharmaceutical Review.
The Many Partners That Rely on Samsung Biologics
These innovations pushed forward by Samsung Biologics attracted many partners who knew they could rely on the company to help them produce and distribute mRNA vaccines. In May 2021, Samsung Biologics partnered with Moderna to supply the commercial fill/finish manufacturing services for their mRNA-1273, a highly effective two-dose mRNA vaccination against COVID-19.
The effort paid off. Samsung Biologics effectively decreased the total schedule for the deal’s execution by utilizing its technology and expertise, allowing the first batch of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine to be released for domestic distribution within five months of the contract’s signing.
“This is truly a significant milestone, as we were able to accelerate the approval process in close and prompt collaboration with the Korean government and Moderna, especially under the MFDS’s rigorous screening for the first fill/finish manufacturing of mRNA vaccines in Korea,” said John Rim, CEO of Samsung Biologics. “We were also proud to demonstrate our commitment to providing both quality and agility throughout our processes, and will continue to work closely with our client to stably supply the products especially in light of the increasing importance and demand for vaccines in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Other partners include AstraZeneca and GreenLight Biosciences. Samsung Biologics announced a deal with GreenLight Biosciences and the Environmental Impact Acquisition Corp., a biotechnology company that manufactures RNA products, in November 2021. Samsung Biologics will produce GreenLight’s messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate.