Moving to the Next Level in Biomanufacturing - Pharmaceutical Technology

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PharmTech Europe

Moving to the Next Level in Biomanufacturing
Growth in the market for monoclonal antibodies, recombinant proteins, and vaccines creates new opportunities for drug companies and suppliers.

Pharmaceutical Technology
Volume 34, Issue 4, pp. 64-70


Although vaccines are a relatively small part of the overall pharmaceutical market, they are part of the growth strategy of certain pharmaceutical majors such as sanofi-aventis, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Merck & Co., and Pfizer via its recent acquisition of Wyeth (Madison, NJ). In an investor-relations presentation on vaccines in December 2009, sanofi aventis estimated the value of the vaccine market at EUR 15 billion ($21 billion) in 2008 and projected the market would reach EUR 23 billion ($32 billion) by 2013.

Private and public funding is helping to create opportunity in the vaccines market. Earlier this year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced it will commit $10 billion during the next 10 years for research, development, and delivery of vaccines in poor and developing countries, which is in addition to $4.5 billion the foundation previously committed. The funding will be used to increase access to existing vaccines and support development for new vaccines for diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, a private–public partnership, is developing vaccines for diarrhea and pneumonia. This funding and high-profile government intervention into vaccine development as in the case of pandemic flu is transforming the vaccine sector from a traditionally lower-valued sector to a more value-added one.

Vaccines for meeting unmet medical needs commonly found in developing nations, as well as prophylactic vaccines such as cancer vaccines, have become important areas of research. For example, in March 2010, Novartis signed an option worth up to EUR 700 million ($950 million) with the biotechnology firm Transgene (Parc d' Innovation d'Illkirch, France) conditioned on the successful development of the cancer vaccine TG4010, which is being developed for non-small cell lung cancer. This type of vaccine research is another example of the evolving market opportunities in biologics.

Patricia Van Arnum is a senior editor at Pharmaceutical Technology, 485 Route One South, Bldg F, First Floor, Iselin, NJ 08830 tel. 732.346.3072,


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5. F. Schwarz, Nature Chem. Bio. DOI:10.1038/nchembio.314 (2010).

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