November 2008 Supplement

Critical Issues in Outsourcing to a CMO

Deciding to outsource biopharmaceutical manufacturing is a strategic decision with long-term consequences. Most companies deliberate carefully as they select a contract manufacturing organization (CMO). Because the factors involved in such deliberations vary widely among organizations — and they shift over time — my company has included an analysis of critical outsourcing issues as part of its fifth annual report and survey of biopharmaceutical manufacturing capacity and production (1). In this year’s study of 434 global biomanufacturing facilities, we found the…

Leveraging the Size and Scope of Global CROs

Biotech was “born” in the 1970s. Since that time innovation by biotech pioneers has brought more than 200 medicines and vaccines to fruition for difficult-to-treat indications including oncology, HIV/AIDs, diabetes, and immune disorders. Another 400 biotech products targeting 200 diseases are currently in clinical trials, and 700 compounds are in preclinical development (1). Overall, the industry had a banner year in 2007, with an 8% increase in biotech revenues and a total of more than $29.9 billion (US) in investment…

Partnering with a CMO in China

Many biopharmaceutical companies are evaluating the option of working with contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs) in China. There are probably as many reasons for following that strategy as there are companies doing the evaluating. However, regardless of the strategic plan behind pursuit of a CMO in China, there are key issues each company must consider as part of its due diligence before selecting one. Through a fast growing economy and government supported transition from low-margin to high-margin products, China is quickly…

Want a Good Partnership?

One evening, during dinner with several colleagues, the topic of company collaborations and contract organizations came up. I related my own experiences as party to a failed effort and the lessons I’d learned. As our conversation continued, our late night conclusions were simple: Effective partnerships are the means by which we achieve market success, but building such partnerships is complicated. One mistake after another can quickly cascade into a company’s collapse. Here I review six ways to ruin your company…

Biopharmaceutical Quality Assurance

The basic concepts and reasons for quality assurance (QA) in biotechnology are, of course, the same as for the manufacture of any other medicinal product or device: to assure the safety of the patient. So, what’s different about biotechnology? The variety of products is vast — from well characterized proteins in production for the past couple of decades, to cell based products, genetically modified oncolytic viruses, viral gene vectors — and many more, with new innovations almost daily. Although their…

CMOs Can Add Value to Outsourced Projects

Organizations outsource tasks to contract service providers for diverse reasons ranging from internal resource constraints (particularly in virtual or start-up companies) to overflow capacity, or to avoid or delay capital or resource investment. The scope of outsourced work varies from limited tasks such as an outsourced assay to complete process development and GMP manufacturing. In a highly competitive outsourcing market, customers expect successful and timely execution of the outsourced work, but they also seek “added value” to the overall program.…

Comparing Mammalian Expression Systems

Almost every pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company in the world depends on the use of recombinant stable cell lines to enable drug discovery, development, and often manufacturing of biologics. It normally falls on multidisciplinary upstream development teams to attain this goal, requiring a wide variety of technologies and skill sets such as laboratory robotics, optical analyzers, molecular biology, and data processing. The large capital investment required to procure the equipment and expertise necessary to develop biologics can be cost prohibitive, which…