Samsung Biologics produces Lilly Covid-19 treatment
The two companies signed a long-term contract last May — ahead of approvals by health authorities — to prepare for potential demand. Samsung's manufacturing contract with Lilly was disclosed in a public filing in October, but it wasn't until Tuesday it announced it was making Covid-19 treatments.
The first batch that met good manufacturing practice (GMP) were delivered to Eli Lilly last month, Samsung said. Suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO) and adopted in many countries, GMP is a set of regulatory guidelines in drug production and quality control to ensure safety.
Samsung and Eli Lilly are cooperating on several Covid-19 antibody treatment candidates, but which was delivered was not disclosed. A source familiar with the matter said the drug in question was LY-CoV555, which was authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Nov. 9.
“Neutralizing antibodies are proving to be a potentially important tool in the fight against Covid-19, and the biopharmaceutical industry is collaborating quickly and effectively to increase the global manufacturing supply,” said David A. Ricks, Lilly’s chairman and CEO, in a Tuesday statement.
“This agreement with Samsung supplements Lilly’s own internal manufacturing capacity and greatly expands our ability to deliver Lilly antibody therapies to patients around the world.”
Part of the batch delivered was for last-stage clinical trials conducted on large groups of patients. But with the FDA's emergency use authorization, the treatment produced by Samsung Biologics can be supplied to actual patients as a Covid-19 treatment.
From the signing of the contract, it took five months to mass-produce the coronavirus treatment — a significant achievement, Samsung said, considering ongoing difficulties due to the pandemic such as securing ingredients. The two partners also managed to reduce the period required for the technology transfer to three months.
“We are very pleased to deliver this product to our client Lilly at record-breaking speed to aid in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Kim Tae-han, CEO of Samsung Biologics.
“Thanks to Lilly’s ongoing scientific efforts, patients suffering from this devastating disease are gaining new hope. Samsung Biologics is proud to be Lilly’s [contract manufacturing and development] partner and will continue to work relentlessly and collaboratively with them to bring Covid-19 treatments to patients who need them the most, wherever they are.”
BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [firstname.lastname@example.org]