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Samsung Chief Met Moderna to Discuss Covid Vaccine Development

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Samsung Group’s de facto leader Lee Jae-Yong has met with leaders of biotech company Moderna and telecom career Verizon in the US to enhance cooperation with the global partners, the company said on Thursday, as part of efforts to secure the conglomerate’s next growth engines.

Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, met Noubar Afeyan, chairman and co-founder of Moderna, at the headquarters of Flagship Pioneering in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Flagship Pioneering is a venture capital firm also founded by Afeyan, focusing on biotechnology.

The two are said to have discussed ways to intensify cooperation in Covid-19 vaccine development and production and, by extension, in other bio sectors going forward, reports Yonhap news agency.

Samsung Biologics, the biotech arm of Samsung Group, made a deal with Moderna in May to “support the production of hundreds of millions of doses of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine intended for the supply of markets outside of the US.” The company has been producing the vaccine since October.

In August, Samsung said it would invest a combined 240 trillion won ($205 billion) in the chip and bio industries over the next three years in a move to secure future growth engines and expand technology leadership in the post-Covid-19 era.

In detail, Samsung said the investment will be used to foster its strategic businesses, including semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, next-generation communication networks, and IT research, though it did not reveal how much money will be spent on each sector.

Samsung said it will also boost its pharmaceutical business through its affiliates Samsung Biologics and Samsung Bioepis.

“We will continue to make aggressive investments for the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) sector and expand our leading status as a biopharmaceutical production hub by building our fifth and sixth factories,” it said at that time.

“Not only biopharmaceutical products, we also plan to enter the CDMO business in vaccines and gene therapy drugs.”

Samsung Biologics is currently building its fourth plant, which will make the company the world’s dominant leader in the CDMO sector with 620,000 liters of capacity.

On Wednesday, Lee visited the headquarters of Verizon, an American wireless network operator, in New Jersey to meet its CEO Hans Vestberg.

Last year, Samsung Electronics signed network solutions deal with Verizon to supply 5G communication equipment worth 7.9 trillion won, the largest network-related deal ever made by a South Korean firm.


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