CMOs at front of biopharmaceutical manufacturing technology

Posted Jul 1, 2018 by Tim Sandle
Contract manufacturing organizations are on the leading edge of new pharmaceutical manufacturing technology adoption, according to a new overview of the sector.
Pharmaceutical manufacturing at BPL  Elstree  UK.
Pharmaceutical manufacturing at BPL, Elstree, UK.
Contract manufacturing organizations are increasingly fond leading the way with newer technology and device adoption. This is a factor of their business models which requires them to be able to deal with multiple products. This model needs a strong level of agility and flexibility. According to analysis from Eric S. Langer, of BioPlan Associates, Inc., the types of jobs that contract manufacturing organizations are often seeking come under the titles of ‘technology scout’ and ‘director of innovation’.
A contract manufacturing organization is a company that supports other companies in the pharmaceutical industry in providing a range of services from drug development to drug manufacturing. This model enables major pharmaceutical companies to outsource some aspects of the business to assist with scalability or to enable core pharmaceutical resources to be orientated to areas like drug discovery and drug marketing instead. The contract manufacturing organization marketplace is highly competitive.
Langer provides his analysis to Pharmaceutical Outsourcing. This is drawn from the "13th Annual Report and Survey of Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Capacity and Production."
The survey notes that those companies that can adopt acceptable technologies then fastest are more likely to gain a competitive advantage. Examples include the use single-use and disposable equipment. With this paradigm pharmaceutical manufacturers are seeking to move away from equipment that must be sterilized in-house; avoiding consumables that need to be recycled; and obviating the or risks involved with the transfer of items into process area cleanrooms. Some of the arguments to support this are contained in the Digital Journal article "Why the pharmaceuticals sector is adopting single-use technology."
The reasons why contract manufacturing organizations are looking at new technologies is to boost scale, and in seeking manufacturing productivity and overall efficiency. The survey also found that near 50 percent of contract manufacturing organizations are actively evaluating or testing continuous downstream bioprocessing technologies within the next year. This is far in advance of mainstream pharmaceutical companies. Examples of newer technologies include in-line buffer dilution systems; new membranes; prepacked columns; high capacity resins; and the transition to filters in place of resin chromatography.
It also stands that close to half of contract manufacturing organizations are actively evaluating continuous upstream bioprocessing technologies during the next twelve months, again this puts them ahead of other biotherapeutic developers.