While on the ferry between Manhattan and New Jersey, I struck up a conversation with a fellow traveler, an investment banker
who follows the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, as it turns out. The first thing he told me was that the economy
would turn around in September 2009—not too long to wait. The second thing he told me was that the rally would be led by the
healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, due specifically to all the new biopharmaceutical products that would be released
on the market. The timetable seems a little tight, but the expectation for new biopharmaceutical products to reignite a stalled
economy is hardly news to anyone who works in—or really follows—the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.
Surveys conducted in this magazine and by countless accounting firms, investment houses, and marketing outfits have for some
time been predicting an economic boost from the development and sale of biopharmaceuticals. And even the most cursory walk
around the exhibit hall of the Biotechnology International Organization's annual conference will reveal that a great many
geographic regions—from US cities, counties, and states, to entire nations—are banking on biotechnology and its drug products
to lift their economies out of the doldrums.
Over the past few years, other large industry trade shows traditionally devoted to the science of small-molecule drug manufacturing
have increasingly added tracks addressing the needs of biopharmaceutical manufacturers. Equipment manufacturers are increasingly
expanding their productive offerings to include equipment and consumables geared toward biopharmaceutical manufacturing. Clearly,
it's not just investment bankers that expect growth in this sector of the pharmaceutical industry.
Given all of the gathering interest in large-molecule drug manufacturing, we at Pharmaceutical Technology thought it high time to survey our readers involved in some aspect of biopharmaceutical manufacturing to learn more about
the products they produce, the equipment they use, and the challenges they encounter. The following is a summary of the results
to our survey questions from respondents, representing the roughly 41% of our readers engaged in the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals.
The values given are 95% accurate to within 6.3 percentage points plus or minus.
Products and processes
Thirty-three percent of respondents work for companies that produce biopharmaceuticals only; 46% produce both biopharmaceutical
and small-molecule drugs; and the rest produce equipment and/or services for the biopharmaceutical manufacturing market (see
Figure 1: Companies producing small-molecule versus large-molecule drugs.
More than 50% of respondents work for companies that have been producing biopharmaceuticals for more than five years; 2008
was the year in which the greatest amount of biopharmaceutical manufacturing capacity was added, with 8.1% of respondents
reporting the addition. Five-and-a-half percent respondents report their company added biopharmaceutical manufacturing capacity
in 2007, and 5.1% said their companies added capacity this year. Fifty-nine percent of respondents reported the additional
capacity was added to accommodate internally developed products; almost 29% of respondents say that biopharmaceutical capacity
and products came into their companies through mergers or acquisition; and 24% reported that biopharmaceutical drugs were
in-licensed (see Figure 2, multiple answers were allowed).
Figure 2: Reasons for adding biocapacity. Total exceeds 100% because multiple responses were allowed.