Author Archives: Gareth Macdonald

COVID driving revs but patent loss and markets continue to shape pharma

COVID-19 will be a revenue driver and R&D focus for biopharma, but pre-pandemic factors like patent expiry and emerging markets continue to shape the sector says IQVIA. The research services and analytics firm made the comments in a report, predicting spending on meds will reach $1.8 trillion by 2026 with a significant contribution coming from COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot sales. According to the authors, “The total cumulative spending on COVID-19 vaccines since their introduction through 2026 is projected to…

RNA sector set for progress thanks to decades long research drive

The RNA drug sector has overcome some significant hurdles according to Alynlam Therapeutics CEO John Maraganore, who says industry efforts to work with these challenging molecules have laid the foundations for growth. “The scientific obstacles are best defined here, small interfering RNA molecules are large. They’re charged. They’re susceptible to biological degradation. They’re also prone to activated immune sensor systems. And so the challenge of making drugs out of small interfering RNAs was really a formidable scientific challenge that needed…

Digital transformation must be driven by technology and savvy staff

Staff who understand the benefits of digital manufacturing are as important as the technology itself, according to a Novartis expert Digitization is a hot topic for biopharma. Advocates say the ability to monitor and model manufacturing data in real-time as a major advantage in terms of product quality and consistency. Technology is driving the shift from analog. But having staff who understand the benefits is as important according to Francisca Gouveia, a Senior Process Expert, MS&T at Novartis, who says…

Ampersand backs Alliance Pharma and plans ‘aggressive’ growth plan

Private equity firm Ampersand Capital Partners has invested in bioanalytical services contractor, Alliance Pharma. Financial terms of the investment were not disclosed. Ampersand confirmed that company founder and president, Frank Li, will remain a significant shareholder in Alliance. Malvern, Pennsylvania-headquartered Alliance provides discovery bioanalytical, DMPK, regulated bioanalysis, biomarker, LC-MS/MS, immunoassay services as well as cell and gene therapy and protein characterization. The firm works on all stages of drug development from animal studies through all phases of clinical development. It…

WuXi ATU opens Philly cell and gene therapy testing center

WuXi ATU has opened a testing facility in Philadelphia, US to cater for growing demand for the cell and gene therapy sector. The new test center expands the campus that WuXi ATU – a subsidiary of WuXi AppTec – established late in 2020. A company spokesman told us “The new Philadelphia facility will enable us to triple our capacity for critical tests related to the characterization of lentivirus and adeno-associated-virus (AAV) products such as replication competency (RCL and RCAAV assays)…

Resilience buys cell free synthesis tech firm SwiftScale Biologics

Resilience has bought cell-free protein synthesis tech firm SwiftScale Biologics in a deal designed to support novel therapeutic research. The San Diego based contractor – officially called National Resilience – announced the acquisition late last week, citing growing biopharmaceutical industry interest in cell-free protein synthesis as the prompt for the deal. Resilience CEO Rahul Singhvi suggested the approach could help industry overcome some of the hurdles that complicate commercial manufacture and scale-up. “Biologics production today is limited to what can…

Fujifilm to invest $500m+ in UK CDMO business

Fujifilm Corp has confirmed £400 ($532) million of a previously announced investment program will be spent expanding its CDMO operations in Billingham, UK. According to a plan unveiled today Fujifilm will double the sites development and manufacturing capabilities, establish both a viral gene therapy facility and a mammalian cell culture facility and create up to 350 jobs. Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies will also build a cell culture facility and ramp up antibody-based therapeutics production capacity through the addition of four 2,000…

COVID-19 to shape mRNA vaccine and therapeutic sector for years to come

COVID-19 established mRNA vaccines as an effective therapeutic option and – says a technology expert – has set the blueprint for how they will be made for the foreseeable future. Developers were working on mRNA-based medicines before 2020 with Alnylam’s polyneuropathy treatment Onpattro (patisiran) being one of the first such therapies to win approval. However, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a period of rapid growth for the market – particularly mRNA vaccines – that shows little signs of slowing according to…

Generate Biomedicines raises $370m to advance AI drug discovery tech

Generate Biomedicines has raised $370 million to further develop its artificial intelligence (AI) drug discovery technology, expand its team and build labs. The Cambridge, Massachusetts biotech completed a series B round last week, attracting investment from founding backer Flagship Pioneering and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), the Alaska Permanent Fund and Altitude Life Science Ventures. Generate said the money will allow it to “advance and evolve” the platform and “scale the organization with top-tier scientific and computational talent.” It…

COVID drove innovation in consumables sourcing and inventory management

COVID-19 has changed how drugs and vaccines are made according to experts who say limited raw material supplies and manufacturing capacity have forced industry to innovate in sourcing and inventory management. The pandemic has disrupted the global supply of consumables and technologies according to Josh Speidel from Latham BioPharm Group, who said on BioProcess Insider’s recent State of the Industry webinar that delivery timelines have increased significantly. “The pandemic has put immense pressure on the global manufacturing capacity” adding that…