Bioprocessing in a Post-COVID-19 World

COVID-19 has compressed bioprocessing timelines, leaving no room for uncertainty in the characterization of raw materials and contaminants

Bioprocessing has taken quite a remark­able journey over the last 30 years. In recent years, the demand for powerful and specific biopharmaceuticals has continued to increase, driven by monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), where the market can be expected to approach $140 billion by 2024.1 Rising de­mand for biopharmaceuticals also reflects how biologics are expanding into new therapeutic areas, such as neurodegenerative and cardio­vascular diseases. Finally, rising demand is be­ing sustained by better geographic reach, label extensions, and the emergence of biosimilars.

Developments in molecular biology and clinical insight have also supported emerging modalities, such as cell and gene therapies, nucleic acid–based medicines, and new workflows in engineered vaccines. As part of this next frontier of medicine, cell and gene thera­pies will continue to provide novel ways to address chronic conditions and diseases. The emergence of COVID-19, a pandemic unleashed by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, caused a rapid and unexpected evolution in the industry over the last year. As the industry has moved swiftly from research to production of new vaccines, the importance of system and raw material characterization has been magnified.

Accelerated timelines leave no room for uncertainty or unnecessary challenges related to documentation, stability, critical impurities, and other factors related to raw materials, quality, and consistency. No matter how much emphasis is placed on speed, it remains under­stood that no compromises to patient safety can be tolerated.

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Author

Dr. Ger Brophy

Executive Vice President, Biopharma Production

Dr. Ger Brophy is Executive Vice President, Biopharma Production at Avantor. In his current role, he is responsible for developing and implementing Avantor’s Biopharma Production offering to support current and future customer needs. Prior to joining Avantor, Dr. Brophy held a variety of research and development, strategy, advanced systems, and business development positions with GE Healthcare Life Sciences, GE Healthcare Medical Diagnostics and Amersham for nearly 30 years. Dr. Brophy earned a Bachelor of Science in biotechnology, as well as a doctorate in molecular biology from Dublin City University in Ireland.

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