Samsung BioLogics signs deal to manufacture coronavirus antibodies

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Samsung BioLogics signs deal to manufacture coronavirus antibodies

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View of Samsung BioLogics' biomanufacturing plant in Songdo, Incheon. [KIM MIN-SANG]

Samsung BioLogics has signed an agreement to contract manufacture Vir Biotechnology’s antibodies for potential Covid-19 treatments, the company announced Friday.

The deal marks the largest-ever contract for Samsung BioLogics and the first agreement for treatments on the novel coronavirus.

Under the deal valued at $362 million, the company is expected to start manufacturing as early as October with the first engineering run for Vir’s lead Covid-19 treatment candidates, VIR-7831 and VIR-7832.

The two candidates reportedly showed high affinity for the Covid-19 spike protein and are highly effective in neutralizing the coronavirus in live-virus cellular assays. Vir Biotechnology plans to start Phase 2 clinical trials for the two substances within the next three to five months.

"We are proud to be working as a partner with Vir in their response to the global Covid-19 pandemic," said Samsung BioLogics CEO Kim Tae-han in a statement.

"With millions of people being impacted by this virus, accessibility to effective treatment is paramount. 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."

Samsung BioLogics is expected to start making potential commercial batches in 2021 at its third biomanufacturing plant in Songdo, Incheon. The company has the largest biomanufacturing capacity in the world with 364,000 liters (96,160 gallons).

BY KO JUN-TAE [ko.juntae@joongang.co.kr]

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