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Samsung BioLogics claims contract biopharma crown

Completion of third plant doubles production capacity

Samsung Biologics' third plant in Incheon, South Korea, is capable of producing 180,000 liters of products a year.

SEOUL -- Samsung BioLogics has become the world's largest contract manufacturer of biopharmaceuticals by output capacity, the company said, with the recent completion of its third plant.

The company invested 850 billion won ($759 million) to build the new plant, located in Incheon on the outskirts of Seoul, doubling its total production capacity to 360,000 liters a year and putting it ahead of Switzerland's Lonza and Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim.

The third plant will soon begin operation on a trial basis to fulfill requirements from U.S. and European authorities, and full production will start in two years. It has an output capacity of 180,000 liters, roughly the same as the combined total for the company's first and second plants.    

Samsung BioLogics has secured contracts with 24 drug manufacturers around the world spanning 33 products. The company posted 125.4 billion won in sales for the April-June quarter, a 98% jump from a year earlier. Biopharmaceuticals have become mainstream among the newest drugs, like anticancer agents, and further growth is expected.

Samsung C&T is the principal shareholder of Samsung BioLogics at 43%, followed by Samsung Electronics with 31% ownership. Samsung Electronics, the main Samsung Group company, has applied its expertise in running clean rooms for semiconductor production into developing the biopharmaceutical business, which it positions as one of four key growth segments.

Meanwhile, South Korean investors expect that Samsung BioLogics will escape delisting despite alleged accounting fraud. The country's financial services watchdog said in July that Samsung BioLogics flouted accounting rules by intentionally concealing crucial information about a joint venture in a way that inflated earnings, a charge the company denies. The commission decided to investigate the case further, but there have been no updates from authorities.

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