Business

Developing Markets Bring Opportunity But Not Without Real Estate Risk

Life-sciences markets develop in their own way, but one aspect they all have in common is the unpredictability of their growth. Not only are local economies unpredictable, but so are companies and their needs. Driven by competing pressures to seek new markets and new innovations while operating more efficiently, biopharmaceutical companies are increasingly setting their sights on new horizons abroad. Those investments are not without risks, however. Real estate is at the core of overseas expansion, and that’s where it…

Hiring and Staffing in Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing: Five-Year Trends Indicate Difficulty in Filling Positions

The biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry continues to expand rapidly, with growth in revenue for both suppliers and drug innovators averaging about 15% per year. Understandably, much of the industry’s recent focus has been on the pace of technological improvements that have boosted productivity and performance. But another issue is becoming just as critical: The flow of skilled staff able to keep up with the industry’s growth isn’t keeping pace. Results from our 2015 annual industry study suggest that the hiring market…

Disposable Components in Biomanufacturing: A Regulatory Perspective

On a holistic level, the decision regarding whether to use single-use or stainless steel equipment in a biomanufacturing plant is a significant one. It greatly influences the design, construction, layout, and operation of a plant — and consequently, the timing and cost of the overall project. And regulatory review can add an element of risk to using anything new. Disposables have been viewed as a revolutionary concept, and they are. But from a routine regulatory operational perspective, I believe it…

Bioindustry Researchers Take Strides in Preventing Diseases: Developments in Genetic Diagnosis and Therapy

Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical research arm recently launched a drug-development project that will intercept diseases before patients even realize they’re sick. In the company’s words: “The future of healthcare will increasingly depend on identifying and correctly interpreting the earliest signals of disease susceptibility, preventing or intercepting disease before it even begins.” (1). The first targets include Alzheimer’s, some forms of cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes. The company’s Disease Interception Accelerator group will search for…

Accounting for Portfolio Risk: Creating an Analytical Framework for Optimizing the Portfolio Mix

In the biopharmaceutical industry, portfolio risk is categorized as clinical/technical or commercial (Figure 1). Both types pose challenges to quantify. Portfolio managers tasked with optimizing the mix of products in a company’s pipeline often struggle to create apples-to-apples frameworks that can consistently compare risk across asset categories. The framework described herein can help you account for both technical and commercial risk using simple analytical tools. The foundational analytical element of portfolio management is traditionally the asset forecast: a composite best…

From Silos to Synergy: Optimize Your Managed-Markets Division with Cross-Team Collaboration

Like many other industries, life sciences faces rapid, technology-driven changes and a shifting business environment. Many patients are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or national healthcare organizations outside the United States. That necessitates pricing and reimbursement negotiations that are complicated by rules and regulations. Patients whose health plans belong under a managed-care organization (MCO) or pharmacy-benefit manager (PBM) have access to prescriptions primarily through staff-model pharmacies, mail-order pharmacies, and network pharmacies. Drug manufacturers offer incentives to such organizations in the form…

Decision-Support Tools for Monoclonal Antibody and Cell Therapy Bioprocessing: Current Landscape and Development Opportunities

Industrial-scale manufacturers in a number of fields — from automobiles to biotherapeutics — have long relied on powerful computational and mathematical tools to aid in the scale-up, optimization, quality control, and monitoring of product development (1–5). Typical process pathways are highly multifactorial, with numerous branch points, feedback steps, instrumental attributes, and target parameters. Moreover, margins for error are minimal for most industrial processes, requiring high standards of precision from industrial and operational pathways (6). For those reasons, the complexity of…

Spotlight

Niche Disease: Epidermolysis Bullosa by Cheryl Scott Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is a group of rare diseases that cause skin to blister easily. In severe cases, blisters may even be internal (e.g., in mucosal tissues or organs). More than 300 mutations have been identified in this condition. Most of the many types of EB are inherited, and the condition usually manifests in infants and young children; some patients don’t develop symptoms until adolescence or early adulthood. Exceptionally mild cases may remain…

A Risk-Based Approach to Supplier and Raw Materials Management

Ensuring a continuous supply of safe medicines is a key objective for the pharmaceutical industry and health authorities alike. A critical component to that end is maintaining a reliable supply of qualified raw materials (RMs) used in drug production. However, changes in suppliers, their processes, their providers, and consequently the materials they supply can occur (for a number of reasons) at any time during the life cycle of drug production. A product-supply organization therefore must be prepared to address such…

Special Report on Assays, Test Methods, and Comparability The CMC Strategy Forum Series, Part 4, Biosimilar Products: Scientific Principles, Challenges, and Opportunities

The Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Strategy Forum held on 22 January 2012 in San Francisco, CA, focused on selected scientific and regulatory aspects in the development of biosimilar products. Such products are an increasingly important area of interest for both the biopharmaceutical industry and its regulatory agencies. Biosimilars are highly complex, so scientists have been unable to demonstrate identity to a level typically possible for small molecules. Consequently, specific scientific and regulatory approaches are required to ensure the high…