Samsung Biologics announced earlier today that it has clinched a deal to manufacture a candidate treatment for the coronavirus illness. The biopharmaceutical arm of Samsung Group has signed a $362.2 million contract with the U.S. drug firm Vir Biotechnology.
The company will start full-scale production of candidate COVID-19 treatment that is known to be quite powerful in neutralizing the novel virus. The treatment is based on therapeutic antibodies developed by Vir Biotechnology. The manufacturing will take place at Samsung Biologic’s Songdo plant in Incheon.
Vir Biotechnology is said to have developed the antibodies from the blood samples of patients who completely recovered from the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) illness, which is caused by one form of coronavirus strain. The US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is currently reviewing to grant a fast-track designation to the antibody as a possible therapy to cure COVID-19 patients.
The deal is worth 63 percent of Samsung Biologic’s annual 2019 revenue, setting the biggest single manufacturing revenue for the company. The company’s shares jumped 18.7 percent to KRW 568,000 (around $469) after the announcement today.
The company is planning to begin the first engineering run in October and commence the mass production of the drug in 2021. Samsung Biologic CEO Kim Tae-han said, “Vir’s candidate molecules supported by Samsung BioLogics’ production scale have the potential to bring hope to countless lives across nations suffering from COVID-19.”