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The biopharma space is constantly evolving thanks to the scientific community’s commitment to innovation to seek out new cures and ways to improve our health.

These innovations, however, are often held back due to the often-outdated nature of commercial manufacturing.

The Wall Street Journal once described pharmaceutical manufacturing processes as “dating to the days of the steam engine,” and manufacturing processes need to evolve in order to break down the obstacles between upstream and downstream bioprocesses.

Addressing these challenges, Merck, Bayer and Sanofi have recently announced their first steps towards continuous, end-to-end primary biopharmaceutical manufacturing.

End-to-end continuous biopharmaceutical manufacturing will require global integrated control – but currently, control is typically handled locally for biopharmaceutical manufacturing. As the initiative with Merck, Bayer and Sanofi shows, there is a growing interest in how global control strategies may develop.

Improving the manufacturing process comes down to using the right technology; integrating process steps, using modular systems, and creating a transparent and flexible structure that enables customization.

Over the next decade, the industry could be reshaped by plant modularization, new designs, new technologies and even new ways of handling data. To stay at the forefront of the industry, even the biggest of companies may need to work collaboratively.

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