CDMOs key to improving CGT efficiency and cutting costs

CDMOs must create tech platforms to drive efficiency and cut the cost of cell and gene therapies (CGTs), the sector said at a recent industry conference.

2 Min Read

The complexity of producing advanced therapies and questions surrounding the scalability of such products continue to haunt the industry. The latest US approved product, Orchard Therapeutics’ metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD) gene therapy Lenmeldy (atidarsagene autotemcel), has a wholesale acquisition cost of $4.25 million, again raising questions surrounding the accessibility of cell and gene therapies (CGTs).

The issue was therefore a major talking point at last week’s Advanced Therapy Congress in London, UK, with contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) – already an integral part of the CGT supply chain – explaining how they can help bring down costs.

“Cell and gene therapies are very expensive, not only for our clients but for patients too,” Jennifer Hayne, head of Strategic Marketing at CDMO ReciBioPharm told BioProcess Insider at the event. “It's up to us in the industry to think about and continue optimizing platforms where they do exist.”

Pieter-Jan Vos, director of BD, Europe for fellow-CDMO Batavia Biosciences held a similar view, telling us the service-side of the industry should be moving towards creating efficient platform technologies. “CDMOs should create efficient technology platforms to cut costs. And to bring the costs further down, the CDMOs should resort to using less material while creating higher titers in very quick time spent.”

Manuel Balbuena, director of BD, CGT for AGC Biologics, meanwhile, told us biopharma clients already expect CDMOs to be driving efficiencies, achieving high quality delivery of GMP material in a shorter time.

“The challenge for us today is increasing the speed from clinic to the market, while supporting GMP readiness.”

Michael Baker, senior director of vector gene therapy at Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, told delegates viral vector production is largely dependent on scalability and harvesting efficiency. Furthermore, he said the high costs of raw materials – somewhere between $1-2 million – is a key factor that limits production.

However, he highlighted three key areas of technological advancements that CDMOs can harness to help drive batch productivity and reduce the costs for patients:

“First are the facilities; improving the design and efficiency of facilities to focus on quality, getting into manufacturing quicker,” he told delegates during a presentation.

“This is followed by experience as the industry matures and grows – hopefully you'll start seeing core lessons as best practices. And lastly, mass production, which is the dream for the industry and a real challenge.”

About the Author(s)

Dan Stanton

Managing editor

Journalist covering the international biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing industries.

Founder and editor of Bioprocess Insider, a daily news offshoot of publication Bioprocess International, with expertise in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, in particular, the following niches: CROs, CDMOs, M&A, IPOs, biotech, bioprocessing methods and equipment, drug delivery, regulatory affairs and business development.

From London, UK originally but currently based in Montpellier, France through a round-a-bout adventure that has seen me live and work in Leeds (UK), London, New Zealand, and China.

Shreeyashi Ojha

Reporter, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering the manufacturing and processing sectors for biopharmaceuticals globally.  

Originally from India, I am a Londoner at heart. I have recently graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London.  

Feel free to reach out to me at: [email protected].

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