The last year and beyond has been an example of how the entire world can be turned upside down unexpectedly. The pandemic has been a transformative force around the planet and across every demographic, region, and industry, affecting lives and changing the way people interact with each other.
But as much as the pandemic has had a global and far-reaching effect, the way that it’s impacted specific industries has varied widely. Inversely, some industries have been impacting the pandemic— helping pave the way for a speedier, more promising end to this difficult period and beginning of a brighter era.
One of the leading industries in the battle to quell the spread of COVID-19 and get as many people vaccinated as possible, as quickly as possible, has been the CMO industry. CMOs, or contract manufacturing organizations, are companies that work with clients to help augment or take on the entirety of their manufacturing and production needs.
Over the last year, big names in the CMO field such as Samsung Biologics have been instrumental in helping produce and distribute tools to fight the pandemic, including the vaccines themselves.
Here are some of the most impactful CMOs over the last couple of years, not only when it comes to combatting the pandemic but also in general as they’ve made waves across multiple industries and fields.
Top CMOs During the Era of COVID-19 & Beyond
Samsung Biologics is the leading CMO in 2021, particularly when it comes to the field of global pharmaceuticals that has become so instrumental in the battle against COVID-19. Even before the pandemic, Samsung Biologics was growing at an exponential rate, expanding their service offering and manufacturing capabilities while continuing to innovate new forms of biopharmaceutical production.
Some of Samsung Biologics most recent newsworthy moves have included a nearly $2 billion investment in expansion that centered largely around a fourth plant in South Korea, which when completed will be the largest capacity manufacturing plant on Earth. They also invested in a new research and development facility strategically located on the west coast of the U.S. in San Francisco, giving them close access to many of their partners and the international hub of biopharmaceutical innovation in the Bay Area. They also have put into motion plans to expand into other U.S. cities, including Boston, as well as in Europe.
When it comes to COVID-19, Samsung Biologics was in the news for their team-up with AstraZeneca, one of the key developers associated with the vaccine that’s now being distributed by the millions across America and the world. Samsung Biologics allowed AstraZeneca to dramatically boost their production capabilities and get more needles into arms to stop the pandemic’s spread as soon as possible.
“This long-term partnership with Samsung Biologics strengthens our manufacturing capabilities,” said AstraZeneca Executive Vice President, Pam Cheng, “and ensures we are well-positioned to continue to deliver our exciting portfolio of new and established biologics medicines to patients with quality, speed and efficiency.”
Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies
While not as high-profile as Samsung Biologics, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies has also had an impactful role in the battle to end the global COVID-19 pandemic as well as other effects on the CMO and biopharmaceutical industries. They recently doubled the manufacturing capabilities of their primary plant in Denmark, as well as launching a new innovation center in Texas to create innovative new therapies. They also tripled the production capacity of their UK plant as well as increasing manufacturing capabilities at their satellite site in North Carolina.
When it comes to COVID-19, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies partnered with Texas A&M University to produce vaccine candidates that would help accelerate vaccination across the U.S. and worldwide.
“After several months of intense preparation and hard work, we are ready to produce two vaccine candidates locally here in College Station,” said the CEO of Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, Dr. Gerry Farrell.
Catalent was another CMO, alongside Samsung Biologics, who teamed up with AstraZeneca to help distribute COVID-19 vaccines.
“Catalent’s proven expertise in manufacturing scale-up and commercial production are well suited to support Moderna’s efforts to prepare for wide-scale supply of this vaccine candidate so that it is available if appropriate to address the pandemic,” said CEO John Chiminski.
In addition to their work on the vaccine, Catalent also made the news when they acquired MaSTherCell Global, a cell therapy company that will provide Catalent with access to its two massive facilities in Texas and Belgium. At the same time, Catalent invested over $125 million into expanding their Maryland facility to include five additional manufacturing suites.
Thermo Fisher Scientific
The COVID-19 vaccine is notable for requiring that it be stored at a precise temperature of -94 degrees Fahrenheit, a difficult ask for facilities that have only the most basic refrigeration capabilities.
Thermo Fisher Scientific stepped in to help, manufacturing a freezer that was portable, low-cost, and capable of keeping the vaccine at the required consistent temperature.
“The fact is, we’ve been looking at this for months. As soon as we knew mRNA vaccines were going to be in play, we started projecting and planning from a supply chain perspective,” said Thermo Fisher Scientific General Manager Dr. Alex Esmon.
Thermo Fisher Scientific operates a total of 15 production lines across Europe and the U.S.
The last year has been a transformative one for CMOs, with names like Samsung Biologics entering public consciousness through their work to help end the COVID-19 pandemic. What will they innovate next?