CMOs poised for biologics domination

Contract manufacturers that provide biologics expertise are well positioned during this current pharma transition. And they largely have themselves to thank.

The regulatory and quality concerns that big pharma has traditionally had regarding the outsourcing of biologics manufacturing have been allayed by the track records of the contractors, says consultancy Scientia. And pharma's penchant for keeping personnel, production schedules and intellectual property directly under its thumb is lessening, in large part due to the major cost cuts it has sustained and the economics of the current drug making business proposition.

Scientia cites 21 percent compound annual growth from 2003 to 2008 among biologics, which it estimates at about a third of the pharma market. The consultancy expects biologics to carry that momentum forward, outpacing growth in small molecule drugs.

CMOs having biologics expertise and infrastructure can offer big pharma companies short cuts in the market approval process, the consultancy says, and some may even be better qualified at bioprocessing than their big pharma counterparts, whose production expertise often lies with traditional drug manufacturing.

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