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(Bloomberg) — The Samsung cast is best accepted for its smartphones and wide-screen TVs. Yet abaft the scenes, the amassed is additionally authoritative a name as a arrangement architect of circuitous medicines to amusement diseases like cancer.

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On a allotment of reclaimed acreage forth the western bank of South Korea, Samsung BioLogics Co. is architecture a $740 actor branch that will accord it the accommodation to become the No. 1 ambassador by aggregate of a chic of drugs alleged biologics, abounding of which are acquired from mammal cells.

The Samsung accumulation adapted into the biologic area in 2011. Now, it’s mobilizing its adeptness in semiconductor authoritative and engineering adeptness to accomplish the way biologics are produced on account of Big Pharma added efficient. The bazaar for biologic medicines, which are acclimated for aggregate from blight to arthritis, is projected to beat $223.7 billion by 2021, according to a Bloomberg Intelligence analysis.

Being a force in biologics is acute to Samsung — and South Korea. Galaxy smartphones and added customer electronics face acute antagonism from Apple Inc. and Chinese brands such as Huawei Technologies Co., and the chaebol is grappling with the arrest of de facto baton Jay Y. Lee in a aspersion that brought bottomward the country’s above president. Meanwhile, the broader abridgement needs new industries as shipbuilding and abundant accomplishment slow.

If the accomplished 40 years of all-around bread-and-butter advance were fueled by technology, said Kim Tae-han, arch controlling administrator of Samsung BioLogics, the abutting will be fueled by area that converges with bloom care.


In an account at aggregation address in Incheon, Kim said he is advancing to access up assembly and is in negotiations for added than 15 new contracts. The Samsung lath gave him the blooming ablaze and $2 billion to alpha the business about six years ago. Yet, on the backbone of appeal and business performance, “I’ve already spent $3 billion!’’ Kim said. Sales totaled 107.6 billion won ($96 million) in the aboriginal quarter, a 2.1 percent access from a year earlier, admitting the assemblage still acquaint a net loss.

More than 2,000 architecture workers — most with acquaintance architecture semiconductor accessories — are active about the branch armpit about an hour’s drive from Seoul. It is alleged Edison and is the company’s third biologic facility. Its bristles floors beset 34 meters (112 feet), authoritative way for custom-built vats that are so big some shoot through several floors.

Biologic drugs are developed from cells. That necessitates a added circuitous accomplishment action than archetypal pills — a admixture of chemicals — but makes biologics added able and able of actuality targeted adjoin assertive diseases.

Building a biologic bulb is agnate to one for semiconductors. There are apple-pie apartment that cannot abide dust or added contamination, so Edison is actuality congenital afterwards basics or bolts to anticipate any drilling. As such, aggregate is anchored and agee to fit together. One day, Kim said, “contract manufacturing” could extend to allowance audience body the factories.

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Roche, Squibb

“We apperceive how to optimize that process,” Kim said, citation the acquaintance in semiconductors. “We could be aggressive in quality, acceleration and cost.”

Samsung already is a arrangement architect for some blockbuster drugs, including for Switzerland’s Roche Holding AG and the U.S.’s Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. It will booty three years for the bulb to access up to abounding accommodation afterwards actuality completed this year and aperture at the end of 2018, Kim said.

At its Incheon facilities, agents are on armpit 24 hours a day to ensure continuity: advisers in white smocks absorb the day ecology the assembly process, blockage on centrifuges or poring over abstracts on computer monitors. English is the alive accent and some are alums of Genentech Inc. or Amgen Inc., the U.S.-based biotechnology giants. It has 1,700 employees, and their boilerplate age is 28, the youngest in the Samsung affiliates.

Globally, the biologic industry produces 4 actor liters of biologic drugs a year, and that’s projected to bifold by 2030, Kim said. With its new plant, Samsung BioLogics is accession itself to bifold its bazaar share. Shares are up 24 percent this year to 187,000 won. That compares with a 13 percent access in the criterion Kospi index.

Story Continues

Contract Making

Kim’s aggregation faces some appalling competitors, who are additionally expanding. Switzerland’s Lonza Accumulation AG and Germany’s Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH accept continued histories in the biologics arrangement accomplishment business, and Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings Corp. additionally entered the business.

“We are acquainted of expansions and added investments in beastly corpuscle adeptness capacities by Big Pharma and arrangement manufacturers worldwide,” Boehringer Ingelheim said in a statement. It’s advance about 700 actor euros ($767 million) to body a assembly adeptness in Vienna that will actualize about 500 jobs, the aggregation said in an email.

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Fujifilm is advance 14 billion yen ($123 million) to advance its drug-manufacturing accommodation in the U.S. and U.K., it said in April. Through accessory Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, it’s targeting acquirement of 100 billion yen for the arrangement development and accomplishment business by March 2024, it said in an email. Lonza beneath to comment.

Kim was tasked with award new industries for Samsung in 2007. He spent three years administering a aggregation belief as abounding as 60 advance sectors that Samsung could veer into, including electric cars.

Convincing Board

It took him three years to argue the group’s lath it was account the action to axis into authoritative drugs. One big adherent was Lee, who charcoal in badge custody. While advancing projects haven’t been afflicted by Lee’s detention, some abiding cardinal projects were put on hold, Kim said.

One allegation adjoin Lee is that he approved the above president’s advice in restructuring Samsung affiliates and accepting Samsung BioLogics listed on the Korean barter aftermost year. Lee and the aggregation abjure the allegations. Adding to the pressures, the country’s Financial Supervisory Service is auditing Samsung BioLogics. Kim said he was assured in the accounting standards.

Samsung and added companies in the area accept benefited from the Korean government’s abutment of biopharmaceutical businesses. The Incheon Free Bread-and-butter Zone offered Samsung BioLogics the branch acreage for 50 years afterwards rent, the aggregation said. New Admiral Moon Jae-in railed adjoin the chaebol during his campaign, but Samsung said in an email it accepted him to addition the biopharmaceutical and health-care industries.

“The government has been blame for this for a few decades, but we are at the actual beginning,’’ said Laura Nelson Carney, a chief analyst for Sanford C. Bernstein. The government has been accessible in allotment a lot of basal research, alteration advertisement requirements to accomplish it easier for arising biotechnology companies to accession money in accessible markets and blame for favorable technology-transfer rules, Carney said. 

Samsung isn’t the alone amateur in its home market. A bulk of added companies accept additionally been authoritative abiding advance on the all-embracing biologics biologic arena — either by arrangement accomplishment or by developing their own biosimilars, which are all-encompassing versions of biologic drugs.

Celltrion Approvals

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One is Incheon-based Celltrion Inc., which fabricated after-effects in the biologic apple by accepting a bulk of all-embracing authoritative approvals for its biosimilars. For Remsima, a cheaper archetype of Johnson & Johnson’s arthritis biologic Remicade, it claimed 30 percent of the bazaar allotment in Europe back accepting authoritative approval aftermost year, Kim Ho-ung, arch of the action and operations analysis for Celltrion Healthcare, said in an April 18 interview.

Still, Samsung’s abysmal pockets and adeptness to bandy money at architecture its attendance in a new industry abide a big advantage.

Increased burden for Big Pharma to cut costs is one active agency for why it ability outsource to a aggregation like Samsung BioLogics rather than accomplish drugs in-house, Kim said.

Meanwhile, the industry is admission from application surgical and actinic means of alleviative diseases, with abounding of the new medicines in development of the biologic or cell-based variety. In 2015, six of the world’s 10 acknowledged drugs were biologics, including Remicade and Sanofi’s Lantus for diabetes, according to researcher IMS.

Kim’s modeled his aspirations on the aisle followed by the chips industry. His criterion is Taiwan Semiconductor Accomplishment Co., which entered the arrangement accomplishment bazaar back no one was outsourcing and now is the better chipset maker for iPhones.

“We appetite to be a all-around top amateur in whatever industry we enter,” Kim said. “By 2030, we would like to be admired as one of the all-around leaders in biopharmaceuticals.”

(Updates with Tuesday’s allotment price. An beforehand adaptation adapted a biologic name and bill conversion.)

–With abetment from Sam Kim

To acquaintance the anchorman on this story: Natasha Khan in Hong Kong at

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To acquaintance the editors amenable for this story: Brian Bremner at, Anjali Cordeiro at, Michael Tighe

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

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