Clinical-stage immunology company Vir Biotechnology Inc. (VIR:NASDAQ), which is focused on treating and preventing serious infectious diseases, and contract manufacturing and laboratory testing firm Samsung Biologics (207940:KS), yesterday evening announced "a manufacturing agreement under which Samsung Biologics will perform large scale manufacturing services for Vir's SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibody (mAb) program." The deal is valued at approximately US$362 million with production scheduled to commence by Samsung Biologics in October 2020.
Dr. Tae Han Kim, CEO of Samsung Biologics, commented, "We are proud to be working as a partner with Vir in their response to the global COVID-19 pandemic...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."
Vir reported that "its lead SARS-CoV-2 mAb development candidates, VIR-7831 and VIR-7832, have demonstrated high affinity for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and are highly potent in neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 in live-virus cellular assays and that the company plans to proceed directly into a phase 2 clinical trial within the next three to five months."
Vir Biotechnology's CEO George Scangos, Ph.D., remarked, "Given the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic, our expectation is that there will be a significant need around the world for antibody therapies...Accordingly, we are taking proactive steps to reserve large scale manufacturing capacity to be ready to move quickly with any of our antibody candidates that prove to be clinically safe and effective. We are pleased to partner with Samsung Biologics who share our commitment to work with exceptional speed to address this pandemic."
The agreement between the two companies is valued at approximately $362 million. Samsung Biologics is expected to commence manufacturing in as early as October with potential commercial batches to be manufactured beginning in 2021. The parties are still negotiating the complete details and hope to form and execute a definitive agreement prior to July 31, 2020.
Samsung Biologics is a fully integrated contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) based in Songdo, South Korea. The company stated that it offers state-of-the-art contract development, manufacturing and laboratory testing services and that it has the largest capacity and fastest throughput which allows it to meet the needs of biopharmaceutical companies globally.
Vir Biotechnology is headquartered in San Francisco, Calif., and is a clinical-stage immunology company focused on treating and preventing serious infectious diseases. The company noted that it has developed four technology platforms created to stimulate and enhance the immune system and identify and observe natural immune processes. The company's stated that its product pipeline candidates are being developed to target hepatitis B, influenza A, SARS-CoV-2, human immunodeficiency virus and tuberculosis.
Vir Biotechnology has a market capitalization of around $3.24 billion with approximately 109.8 million shares outstanding. VIR shares did not trade today as U.S. equity markets are closed for the Good Friday holiday. The company's shares closed Thursday afternoon at $29.50 per share prior to the announcement.
Samsung Biologics has a market capitalization of around KRW 36.968 trillion (approximately US$30.5 billion at an exchange rate of KRW 1 = US$ 0.000825177). The firm's shares, which trade under the numerical symbol 207940, opened 4.5% higher today at KRW 500,000 (+KRW 21,500, +4.49%) over yesterday's KRW 478,500 closing price. The stock traded today between KRW 494,500 and KRW 603,000/share and closed the day at KRW 559,000 (+KRW 80,500, +16.82%).[NLINSERT]
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