Why CDMOs Are At the Heart of COVID-19 Vaccine Successes

COVID-19 Vaccine Successes

The successful rollout of COVID-19 vaccines hasn’t been easy. No medical innovation has been developed, manufactured, and distributed at such massive scale in human history, and a huge portion of this success has hinged on CDMOs.

CDMOs answer a number of tough questions: where do the materials to make vaccines come from? How are they made available to the people who need them all over the world? What equipment is needed to make them? 

CDMOs are contract development and manufacturing companies. They work with pharmaceutical manufacturers and researchers to help create and distribute both medical devices and medicines themselves. In addition to these basic functions, they can provide their partner companies with packaging and analytics services, to name just a few. 

CDMOs and pharmaceutical clients often work together. In what is often a symbiotic relationship, both companies benefit by creating superior products in greater quantities.

There are a number of CDMOs in the world. Many work with a wide array of different clients simultaneously. Others have specific focuses. However, in the CDMO industry, client reputation and services provided matter above all else. 

Get to know world-leading CDMOs 

Many CDMOs work differently, though they all have a common goal: making high-quality drugs more available to the world’s population.

Samsung Biologics

Samsung Biologics experienced major growth in 2020 and has substantial plans to continue expanding in the years to come. By the end of the year, Samsung Biologics had achieved a 66 percent revenue increase and record-high sales in Q4 2020, helping provide them with an opportunity to further expand their reach, services, and portfolio. 

To accelerate rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, Samsung Biologics has partnered with a number of companies, including AstraZeneca, which entered into a $330 million agreement regarding commercial manufacturing of drug substances at a very large scale.

Samsung Biologics CEO John Rim recently spoke about the company’s commitment to innovation and excellence in all endeavors, present and future. In the years to come, Samsung Biologics aims to continue growing its CDMO and biosimilar operations, create new business models, and further expand its portfolio. By early 2023, Samsung Biologics will also complete its fourth plant, giving them greater manufacturing capacity at a single site than any other CDMO.

To improve client satisfaction, Samsung Biologics is also working to improve communications and automate additional processes. This has allowed for better project management, faster delivery, and, ultimately, better patient outcomes. 

In Rim’s own words, “With a steadfast vision and unrelenting drive to achieve better life for all, we embrace responsibility, expertise, and pride in our work, and will continue on our noble mission to enable improved accessibility of biomedicines and consequently the quality of life for people around the globe.”


Lonza is one of the world’s oldest pharmaceutical companies, but it continues to experience substantial growth. The company achieved a 12 percent sales increase by the end of 2020.

A major growth factor for Lonza was its partnership with Moderna, for whom they are now manufacturing 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine. As part of this expansion, the company is building four new facilities to accelerate production, looking to locales including Singapore as targets for future development. As it navigates the COVID-19 crisis, the company is also aiming to help create treatments for conditions including sickle cell disease. 

CEO Pierre-Alain Ruffieux explained, “The full-year results reflect our commitment and focus to maintaining operations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, while making an active and decisive contribution to controlling it.” 


Siegfried is a Swiss CDMO that achieved a 10.4 percent increase in profit by the end of 2020. The company acquired two additional manufacturing sites for treatments and devices, rolled out a new growth and development strategy, and was able to continue their operations as they navigated the challenges created by the COVID-19 crisis.

Siegfried is working in partnership with German immunotherapy company BioNTech to help package and fill COVID-19 treatments created in partnership with Pfizer. Though this partnership will expire in early 2022, it may lead to further developments and work between the two organizations. 

As explained by Dr. Wolfgang Wienan, CEO: “As a leading CDMO company with a strong global manufacturing network, Siegfried is in a position to take on technologically demanding tasks at short notice and to quickly build up the necessary capacities.” 


Cambrex is a world-leading drug company with significant investment in the United States. This CDMO has spent $50 million creating three new American facilities, as well as a work center for mid-scale operations in Iowa.

Cambrex made its reputation by creating small-molecule drug developments and for its phase-based approach to treatment development. The company has worked hard to build trust and communicate frequently with its clients, guaranteeing extremely high quality work. Cambrex is also uniquely able to handle the challenges of drug manufacturing domestically.

CEO Tom Loewald said, “Demand for small molecule manufacturing constantly grows and evolves, and we are committed to investing in the capacity, capabilities and expertise to further strengthen our position as a market-leading CDMO delivering customized, customer-centric solutions.”