Samsung Biologics announced on Thursday that it signed with Vir Biotechnology Inc. a manufacturing agreement worth approximately $362 million (438 billion won) to mass-produce COVID-19 treatment.
Under the deal, the Korean biopharmaceutical company would commence large scale manufacturing for Vir’s SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) monoclonal antibody (mAb) treatment. Samsung Biologics said it would start with technology transfer as early as October this year. The company would begin manufacturing potential commercial batches by 2021 at its Songdo plant in Incheon.
Vir Biotechnology, Inc. is a clinical-stage immunology firm based in San Francisco specializing in creating treatment drugs for infectious disease prevention. The bioscience company developed antibodies from blood samples from those completely cured of the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) illness. Vir’s antibody candidate is said to be highly potent in neutralizing the SARS-CoV-2 in live-virus cellular assays.
The U.S. company aims to proceed directly into phase 2 of clinical trials within the next three to five months. The biological contract manufacturing organization (CMO) build’s on its letter of intent with Biogen, Inc. and previously announced CMO with WuXi Biologics.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently reviewing to certify a fast-tracking the designation of the antibody as a possible therapy to cure coronavirus infected patients.
Antibody Therapeutics Global Potential
Dr. Tae Han Kim, CEO of Samsung Biologics, said that with Vir’s antibody candidate coupled with Samsung Biologics’ production scale has the potential to give hope to millions of people suffering from the effects of COVID-19.
George Scangos, CEO of Vir Biotechnology, expects that the world would significantly need antibody therapies given the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that Samsung Biologics share their commitment to work with exceptional speed in addressing the pandemic.
With the latest CMO, Vir hopes to secure a stable manufacturing site for its mass production of therapeutics antibody. Samsung Biologics expects the manufacturing agreement would raise its brand awareness in the international manufacturing market.