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South Korea's Samsung Biologics signs $231 million supply deal with GSK

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SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean contract drugs manufacturer Samsung Biologics Co Ltd said on Friday it had signed a deal worth more than $231 million with GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) to supply biopharmaceutical products over the next eight years.

The biotech arm of Samsung Group will start with manufacturing drugs for autoimmune disease lupus for GSK with the aim to expand to making other drugs for the British drugmaker, an official at Samsung Biologics told Reuters.

"Samsung Biologics entered the biopharma industry with the goal to help our clients bring valuable biological medicines to patients faster," CEO Kim Tae-han said in a statement.

The deal will initially cover commercial production of lupus drug Benlysta and first supply is expected in 2022.

In April, Samsung Biologics won a 442 billion won ($358 million) order from U.S. firm Vir Biotechnology Inc to manufacture antibodies to potentially treat COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Samsung Biologics shares were up nearly 2%, while the broader KOSPI was down 0.8% as of 0150 GMT.

(Reporting by Heekyong Yang; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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