June 2010 Supplement

How Geography Affects the Cost of Biomanufacturing

    As the biopharmaceutical industry undergoes restructuring, its focus shifts to the efficiency of drug development and overall costs of delivering affordable medicines. A question often raised concerns the manufacture of drug substances overseas to tap into a cheaper manufacturing base (1). There are many issues to consider when looking at overseas locations, such as intellectual property (IP), the availability of skilled labor, and the emergence of new markets. The situation is more complex with biopharmaceuticals because the products…

Manufacture Locally, Market Globally?

    One response to a survey we sent out last year kept coming back to me as we prepared this issue. In answer to what a company does if a product in development doesn’t fit into the company’s platform technology, one answer was, “We innovate a solution.” Whether meant seriously or not, it rings true to the history of the industry’s ability to invent and reinvent solutions as necessitated by economic realities. When we began working on the topic…

Minimizing Costs and Process Times with Local Biomanufacturing

For a growing number of biopharmaceutical companies, the world is getting smaller. They are operating in smaller, more flexible facilities; servicing potentially smaller markets; and managing local products. Local manufacturers are looking for ways of doing standard processing less expensively without making changes that carry regulatory risk. Most of these facilities are vaccine manufacturing sites. The upsurge in localized diseases and need for global pandemic preparedness (especially under uncertain capacities) have countries such as Malaysia, India, China, and Brazil pushing…

Navigating the Logistics of Local Biomanufacturing

    As much as one-third of the world’s population lacks access to essential medicines, and in the poorest regions of Africa and Asia, this figure rises to one-half (1). Along with other organizations, Medicins sans Frontieres (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) advocate for a combination of global and regional policies to lower drug prices sustainably, including local drug manufacturing. At this year’s annual meeting of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), during a session on building vaccine capacity in developing countries,…

Planning Export Compliance for Cross-Border Growth

Business or research groups planning to expand research, manufacturing, sales, or distribution activities beyond the United States should plan for compliance with US and international export and import rules and understand how these rules apply to various technologies. Export and import requirements can be complex and highly technical. Failure to allow for the long lead times needed to frame and implement internal export policies and procedures as well as engage third-party export services can lead to additional expenses, delayed export…

Technology Transfer of CMC Activities for MAb Manufacturing

    With combined 2009 revenues estimated to be over US$40 billion, monoclonal antibody (MAb) products have become the dominant component of the biopharmaceutical market (1). Continued interest and development of this exciting class of products will drive the overall sales of biopharmaceutical products in the future, making them the fastest growing segment of the overall pharmaceutical market (2). To help companies developing MAb products, BioProcess Technology Consultants recently published a comprehensive report outlining the complex technical, regulatory, and strategic…

A Convergence of New Products and Technologies Changes the Game

    Vaccine makers are leading the way — that’s something you don’t hear every day. For many years, vaccines were seen as “old-school” and less profitable than other biologic products — and they were the business of just a few huge companies. But thanks to recombinant technology, it’s a real Cinderella story: Advancing technologies led to what’s being called the “vaccine renaissance.” And now, vaccine companies may have something to teach their biopharmaceutical brethren. In April 2004, BPI may…

Biomanufacturing Locally, Thinking Globally

    Compared with other business sectors, the biopharmaceutical industry has been a high-tech laggard when it comes to outsourcing and off-shoring. That’s changing as companies acknowledge the strategic, cost, and market benefits. Over the past seven years of tracking outsourcing trends (1), I’ve seen interest in outsourcing grow, but that has kicked into high gear over the past couple years. Partly due to the economic and funding crisis and partly as a result of industry maturation, outsourcing is taking…

Challenges in Developing an Infrastructure Strategy

    The idea of “thinking globally, but manufacturing locally” to each market is relatively new to the biopharmaceutical industry. As I mentioned in Chapter 2, vaccine makers are more familiar with the concept already. But many technological and economic factors are making other companies aware of this option. Offshoring clinical trials has been of great interest in the pharmaceutical industry for years now. Is it more cost-effective to make clinical materials “here” and ship them “there”— or to make…