Samsung Biologics lands CDO deal with Chinese biotech firm

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Samsung Biologics lands CDO deal with Chinese biotech firm

Samsung Biologics' headquarters in Incheon. [SAMSUNG BIOLOGICS]

Samsung Biologics' headquarters in Incheon. [SAMSUNG BIOLOGICS]

Samsung Biologics signed a contract development organization (CDO) deal with GeneQuantum, a Chinese biotech venture, the Korean company said Monday.  
 
The value of the deal was undisclosed. The two will jointly develop GQ1003 — an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) to treat specific types of lung cancer, breast cancer and other solid tumors. ADC is a class of biological treatments that attach anticancer drugs to an antibody which finds its way to target cells inside the body.  
 
GeneQuantum is a biotech company specializing in the field of ADCs to treat various tumor diseases. One of its treatments, for lung and breast cancer, was approved to undergo clinical trials by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June this year.  
 
CDOs, alongside their clients, develop cell lines, manufacturing processes and produce drug candidates for early phase clinical trials. Samsung Biologics' partnership with GeneQuantum will start with developing cell lines.  
 
GeneQuantum initially signed a CDO contract for GQ1003 with a different Chinese company but partnered with Samsung for its second antibody candidate.
 
"One of the decision-making aspects for this partnership was Samsung Biologics' dedication and commitment to providing high-quality services," said Dr. Gang Qin, CEO of GeneQuantum in a Monday statement. “With this mutually beneficial partnership, we aim to further expand this development scope to bring innovative treatments for patients.”
 
Over the past decade, the Samsung Group affiliate has grown as a contract manufacturing organization (CMO), which mass-produces drugs for large-scale Phase 3 clinical trials or market releases based on the client’s recipe. But after launching the CDO unit in 2018, the company has been making efforts to expand this business.  
 
The deal with GeneQuantum is meaningful for Samsung, which recently put out ambitious plans to attract more clients overseas. Since its 2018 launch, the CDO business has inked more than 60 deals but most of them were placed by domestic companies.  
 
GeneQuantum is Samsung’s first CDO client from China and therefore marks a significant step into the massive market. The Chinese biopharmaceutical market was worth $38.5 billion in 2019 and is expected to a grow at a rate of 14.4 percent annually. In March, Samsung signed a CDO deal with Taiwan’s Aprinoia to codevelop a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
 
"We are extremely proud that our CDO capabilities are continuously being recognized in the Chinese market, especially amid the current global climate," said Kim Tae-han, CEO of Samsung Biologics.  
 
"By joining forces with a leading biotech company with a distinguished reputation in the market, we hope to further expand on the partnership to provide effective and affordable treatments for patients with unmet medical needs."
 
BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]
 

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