With the evolution of three COVID-19 variants , biopharmaceutical companies have had to keep mRNA vaccines, treatments, and therapies at the center of their innovations and expansions. Researchers, medical facilities, and manufacturers have had to maintain a steady rate of progression when it comes to making and distributing these treatments and vaccines throughout the world to keep the virus at bay. Contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) like Samsung Biologics have had to join the movement to streamline and make these medications accessible.
mRNA, or messenger RNA, is not a new concept. Researchers discovered it in the 1980s, but according to one source, “mRNA was seen as too unstable and expensive to be used as a drug or a vaccine. Dozens of academic labs and companies worked on the idea, struggling with finding the right formula of fats and nucleic acids — the building blocks of mRNA vaccines.” However, due to the urgency of the pandemic, many medical companies found ways to use mRNA to prevent COVID-19 and lessen the effects of the symptoms for those who did catch the virus.
Samsung Biologics spent 2021 and plans to spend 2022 continuing to invest in mRNA production and development, which has already helped the company to partner with prominent pharmaceutical companies.
Moderna, AstraZeneca, and GreenLight Biosciences
Companies rely on CDMOs like Samsung Biologics to partner with them to distribute and manufacture their products. With the rising demand around the world for more vaccines and treatments, pharmaceutical companies need assistance in making these medications accessible for everyone.
Companies like Moderna, AstraZeneca, and GreenLight Biosciences sought out Samsung Biologics for assistance in the development of mRNA products. Samsung Biologics announced a deal with GreenLight Biosciences, a biotechnology company that manufactures RNA products, in November 2021. Samsung Biologics will produce GreenLight’s messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate. “We are delighted to partner with GreenLight to leverage our expertise in manufacturing a messenger RNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate to better serve patients in lower-income countries,” said John Rim, CEO of Samsung Biologics.
Samsung Biologics partnered with Moderna in May 2021 to develop mRNA-1273, a highly efficient two-dose mRNA vaccine. In the United States alone, Moderna doses have been provided more than 150 million times. Moderna is 96.3% effective against the COVID-19 delta strain. Samsung Biologics agreed to provide large-scale, commercial fill/finish manufacturing for mRNA-1273, Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.
AstraZeneca made an agreement with Samsung Biologics for the CDMO to manufacture the company’s long-acting antibody combination. AZD7442 can complement vaccines by giving more protection to those who are already immunocompromised, on dialysis, suffering from cancer, or have an organ transplant.
Samsung Biologics also collaborated with Enzolytics Inc. The firm required CDMO services to support IND submissions for anti-HIV and anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of HIV and SARS-CoV-2.
Developing Technologies to Address the Demand for mRNA Vaccines
Samsung Biologics has already expanded its business range and production capacity to meet market demand as part of its long-term growth strategy. When Samsung’s new Songdo mRNA DS manufacturing suite is completed in the first half of 2022, the CDMO will be able to provide pharmaceutical companies with end-to-end mRNA vaccine production services, from bulk drug substances to aseptic fill/finish, including labeling and packaging, and cold chain storage.
mRNA offers enormous promise for medical study in the future. Future research on mRNA vaccines may result in the ability to protect against several viruses and illnesses rather than simply one. mRNA vaccines against influenza, Zika virus, rabies, and cytomegalovirus have been tried. However, cancer research has taught mRNA how to activate the body’s own immune system in order to detect and eliminate malignant cells. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for innovative therapies for non-contagious diseases, as well as existing ailments, increased.