In conversation with
John Rim
Chief executive of Samsung Biologics

How important is technology in accelerating stages of drug development and manufacturing?

Innovative technologies are becoming increasingly important. We are committed to adopting cutting-edge technologies that can help expedite the drug development and manufacturing process.

We are continuously looking for ways to implement new technologies to enhance, improve, and optimize our processes. Ultimately, we aim to deliver optimized efficiency. The industry is going through a digital transformation and it’s important that companies are ready to embrace new practices.

What are you doing to improve industry readiness and agility?

Samsung Biologics has recently begun construction for its new facility, Plant 4. Also known as the Super Plant, it will be the most ambitious project to date.

It is designed to be fully flexible and with our experienced engineers, it can be optimized to accommodate various client requests and the changing requirements of the industry, ensuring the shortest turnaround time.

Which technologies do you plan to invest in?

We have begun a Quality Digital Transformation Initiative, which will be completed by the time Plant 4 is operational. The digitalized quality initiative will give our clients live, 24/7 access to computerized systems related to their campaigns, and regulatory authorities will have full remote access to documentation, including quality records.

A closer look

How Amgen stays agile

Arleen Paulino has reason to be proud of Amgen. “We have served every patient, every time, because we have not had a shortage,” she says.

As senior vice president of global manufacturing at the Californian biotech firm, Paulino has been central to that achievement, with what she describes as a “very programmatic approach to resilience” in manufacturing. So what is the secret?

“As part of developing our processes and our manufacturing operations, we’re constantly looking for ways to be more agile with technology,” she says. “Can you implement technologies that drive your productivity and your processes so that you can miniaturize, if you will, the operations?”

The benefits to being proactive on technology primarily relate to efficiency. Firstly, Paulino explains, it helps to find ways of reducing footprint in a way that “translates into improved costs and speed”. Secondly, it helps Amgen to find ways to scale up facilities faster.

The company also takes a proactive approach during manufacturing towards its inventory, maintaining both ample operational safety stock, and strategic safety stock of its drugs, and monitoring levels very closely.

“For example, if it takes three months to recover from a specific incident, we may choose to say, "Well, let's maintain six months of inventory to give ourselves room," says Paulino.

Agility then, is much about responding with speed as it is about ensuring emergency reserves are available when they are needed.

More key insights from the BioPharma Resilience Index and expert panelists on biopharma manufacturing agility

Video: Biopharma Resilience Index: Manufacturing agility

Article: Shifting biopharma’s manufacturing into the fast lane

Article: The manufacturing agility challenge in biopharma: Expert panel Q&A