As COVID-19 has created significant advancements in the biopharma sector and opened a new era in vaccinology, medical researchers and pharmaceutical companies as well as contract development and manufacturing companies (CDMOs) are seeing more opportunities in mRNA vaccine technology due to its versatility, able to be designed rapidly to protect against other infectious diseases. This is leading many biopharma and CDMO companies to invest in the technology and capacity to meet the growing market demand. An example of such, Samsung Biologics, a leading global CDMO, announced its plan to add a new suite dedicated to mRNA Drug Substance (DS) manufacturing in its main site in Songdo, South Korea to diversify its service offerings.
What is the mRNA Vaccine?
The mRNA vaccine is one of the newest developments in the medical world that can help prevent contagious viruses like COVID-19. According to the United States Center for Disease Control, (CDC), Messenger RNA vaccines trigger an immune response by teaching cells to make a protein. The immune response creates antibodies to prevent the human body from getting infected by the virus.
The COVID-19 vaccine teaches the body to create a harmless piece of the “spike protein” associated with the COVID-19 disease. The cell recognizes that the protein does not belong and sends it to the surface, triggering an immune response. The immune response prevents the body from suffering the deadlier symptoms of COVID-19. As a result of this research, companies like Moderna and Pfizer have created a mRNA vaccine for COVID-19 with much success.
As part of its long-term growth strategy, Samsung Biologics has already been expanding its business portfolio and production capacity to meet the growing demand in the industry. With the new addition of mRNA DS manufacturing to the Songdo facility expected to be complete by the first half of 2022, this will give the CDMO the ability to offer pharmaceutical companies end-to-end mRNA vaccine manufacturing services from bulk drug substance to aseptic fill/finish including labeling and packaging, along with cold chain storage.
Partnerships with Moderna
In May this year, Samsung Biologics announced that it had partnered with Moderna, a biotech company that developed an mRNA vaccine to prevent further spread of COVID-19. Moderna has one of the rare Emergency Use Authorized vaccines with proven data of working to prevent the deadly virus.
Samsung Biologics stated that it will deliver large-scale, profitable fill-finish manufacturing for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273. One of the key factors to getting the world back to normal includes mass vaccinations.
“This vaccine is paramount to people around the world in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and we truly appreciate our client Moderna for entrusting and choosing to partner with Samsung Biologics for the fill and finish of this important vaccine,” said John Rim, CEO of Samsung Biologics. “Due to the high equal of earnestness in providing the vaccine to the worldwide population, we have set instant step plans and schedules to make mRNA-1273 obtainable for profitable delivery in the early second half of 2021.”