Ignoring downstream processing hikes costs

Related tags Pharmaceutical industry Biotechnology Technology

The contract manufacturing market for biologicals will more than
double over the next six years, but production costs are higher
than necessary because 'downstream' processing is being ignored.

This is the conclusion of a new report by Frost & Sullivan, which predicts that from a current level of $3.8 billion (€3.03bn), contract manufacturing revenue in this market will reach $9.2 billion in 2010, driven by the expansion of the market for biological drugs.

But to benefit from this opportunity, contract manufacturing organisations (CMOs) and drug companies must focus on improving the competence of downstream processing, which F&S maintains has been a long-standing time-scale and technology bottleneck in an otherwise efficient manufacturing process.

Limited investment and lack of innovation in downstream processing accounts for 40 per cent of biopharmaceutical production expenses and result in costly delays, according to the report, entitled World Strategic Analysis of Downstream Processing in Biopharmaceuticals Production​.

This situation is now being addressed, however, through the development of innovative technologies by new investors and the existing multinationals.

F&S​ analyst Phil Webster commented that among the emerging trends are a move toward high-throughput membrane chromatography systems, focusing on increased volumetric throughput of apparatus and using automated systems to increase production efficiency.

CMOs are also gaining prominence in the sector, as the cost of installing or developing in-house downstream systems and staying abreast of technology developments is encouraging drug discovery firms to outsource different stages of manufacturing of their procedures.

CMOs, in turn, are developing their own infrastructure to offer improved facilities for gaining a foothold in an increasingly competitive market, says Webster. Due to this, investment in R&D is also expected to increase.

Another market driver is the growing competition for benchmark apparatus and consumables in the biopharmaceuticals market, which is compelling participants to develop original technologies to out-perform existing systems.

Participants in the sector are also forming tactical alliances with other technology providers to provide end users with enhanced integrated solutions.

Related topics Downstream Processing

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