EMD Millipore to supply Samsung's Yervoy plant in 10-year deal

By Gareth Macdonald contact

- Last updated on GMT

Samsung HQ in Seoul, South Korea
Samsung HQ in Seoul, South Korea

Related tags: Biogen idec, Rituximab

EMD Millipore has been contracted to supply raw materials to the Samsung Biologics plant where ingredients for BM-S’ anticancer monoclonal antibody Yervoy (ipilimumab) are made.

Few additional details of the 10-year supply deal have been released and EMD, which operates as Merck Millipore outside the US and Canada, declined to comment when contacted by BioPharma-Reporter.com.

According to a media statement EMD will ship unspecified raw materials to a facility in Songdo, Incheon, which is a hub for the South Korean contract manufacturing organisation’s (CMOs) protein production operations.

Samsung  Biologics, a joint venture formed by Samsung Electronics and Quintiles in 2011​, describes the Incheon facility as a one-stop shop capable of producing bulk drug substances and drug products.

The facility houses a cell culture hall with six 5,000L stainless steel bioreactors, an upstream suite, downstream processing and fill/finish areas as well as a fully functioning R&D laboratory.

At present the only drug substance confirmed as being made at the site is the active ingredient for Bristol Myers-Squibb’s anticancer monoclonal antibody Yervoy (ipilimumab), which Samsung produces for markets outside the US under a deal signed in 2013​.

Other work at Incheon

In 2011​, Samsung teamed up with Biogen Idec to form Samsung Bioepis, a biosimilar development-focused joint venture that is also based at the Incheon facility.

Later that year the Incheon facility began making trial supplies of a candidate Rituxan (rituximab) biosimilar, however, production halted when the research was put on hold in 2012​ for unspecified "internal reasons."

Since then Samsung has announced it has been contracted to make drug substances Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche – which co-markets Rituxan with Biogen Idec.

More recently, Merck & Co said it had contracted Samsung Bioepis​ develop and commercialize an insulin glargine biosimilar at the site, building on an initial agreement signed in 2013.

In addition to the existing Incheon facility, Samsung is working on a 150,000 litre cell culture-based manufacturing plant, which will also be supplied with raw materials by EMD Millipore.

Samsung did not respond to a request for comment. 

And Biopharma-Reporter will be delving deeper into the issues affecting biosimilars with a free virtual event on September 26. Join four industry experts as they discuss the development, manufacture and sale of such products in a 60 minute seminar hosted by our Editor-in-Chief Gareth Macdonald. Click here​ for more details... 

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