Healthcare is a key concern for everyone, and the COVID-19 pandemic was a learning curve for many of us while we navigated vaccines, infection, and terms such as the R rate or self-isolation.
But there’s one industry within the healthcare sector that you may not have heard of – the biopharmaceutical industry. Worth an aggregated value $7.5 trillion worldwide in 2021, this industry shapes our day-to-day more than you might think.
In fact, if you’ve ever had a vaccine or know somebody who uses insulin, you’ve already come into indirect contact with biopharma. With that in mind, let’s explore the biopharmaceutical industry, the types of businesses that operate within it, and its future.
What is Biopharma?
Biopharmaceutical products are pharmaceutical products that are produced using living systems, whether those systems are bacteria, yeast, or even cells from animals. The cells are manipulated to introduce genetic material, causing them to use their own cellular machine to create a complex drug product.
A key example of one of the most significant biopharma breakthrough’s was the first human protein to be produced through these means and approved by the USFDA in 1982 – insulin. The introduction of this protein came to the relief of diabetics worldwide.
The biggest differentiator between treatments discovered by biopharma or by the traditional pharma industry is the method used. Totally synthesized pharma products are created using a blend of chemicals, whereas biopharma takes components from living cells.
Examples of Biopharma Companies
Biopharmaceutical companies provide a huge range of products, all of which are created by producing ‘human’ proteins in living cells. These products include antibiotics, antibody-drug conjugates, blood plasma products, and many of the vaccines we know best.
Take Pfizer, for example, the biopharmaceutical company that sprung to prominence during the pandemic for its vaccine that was distributed across the world. Biopharmaceutical manufacturing is often outsourced to third-party companies that specialize in manufacturing such products.
Due to the specialist knowledge and technology required, the best way to produce biopharmaceutical products is to worth with an expert company with experience, such as a highly-esteemed cGMP manufacturer.
The Future of Biopharma
In 2014, McKinsey predicted that biopharmaceuticals could become the core of the pharmaceutical industry, but not without significant transformation in strategy, operations, and technology. Almost ten years later, this prediction isn’t far from the truth.
Biopharma will continue to develop new ways to treat, or even cure, a huge variety of diseases. With the right technology, prevention and early detection of diseases will become key – a move we saw in the COVID-19 pandemic during which the speedy creation of vaccines became crucial.
The introduction of new vaccines could also help reduce instances of particular diseases, making the treatment for said diseases no longer necessary. Methods of treating or preventing disease will likely include gene and cell therapies, but the adoption of these new methods will require a rise in the funding and technological capabilities of this sector.
The most exciting aspect of biopharma’s future is that we can expect this industry to introduce treatments for medical conditions that are currently untreatable.