Samsung BioLogics is on alert as Japan's trade retaliation could disrupt the supply of materials essential for biopharmaceutical production.
Samsung BioLogics recently held an emergency meeting of executives as Japan is expected to remove Korea from its export white list. If Japan does exclude Korea from the white list as expected, the company will suffer from an immediate supply shortage of virus filters used for production of biopharmaceuticals.
Virus filters eliminate impurities such as viruses when manufacturing biopharmaceuticals. They are currently produced in Japan and European countries, but no Korean company has ever succeeded in commercially producing them. They are known to require a high level of technology.
Other companies can use European products if they cannot use Japanese virus filters, but Samsung BioLogics has no choice. As Samsung BioLogics is a contract manufacturing organization (CMO), the company has to use parts and materials specified by corporate customers in advance. On the other hand, Celltrion uses non-Japanese virus filters so it will not be affected even if Korea is excluded from Japan’s white list.
"Virus filters are one of the core materials that are essential for production of biopharmaceuticals," said an official at Samsung BioLogics. "While we are seeking to expand our inventory of virus filters, if Japan excludes Korea from the white list, it will take at least three months from the current two to three weeks to get them shipped to us."
Meanwhile, local court held a hearing on July 19 to review whether to issue an arrest warrant for the company’s CEO, Kim Tae-han, for his alleged involvement in the accounting fraud committed by the company. The outcome is expected late in the evening.