9 Predictions for the Future of the Biomanufacturing Industry


The current technological and economic climate surrounding the biomanufacturing industry is the perfect environment for rapid development. As the industry moves forwards, many doors have now been firmly opened by technological advancement and innovation, and many things that were not possible even a year ago, are now commonplace.

Over the past six months we’ve spoken to dozens of industry leaders and asked for their predictions for the future of the industry. We’ve gathered 9 of the most common answers below…

1) Increases in speed and scale

“I think the biomanufacturing industry has come of age. A lot of the technical challenges have been solved in terms of titre and productivity. Now it’s more about speed and gating. Compare it to the computer industry. There haven’t been any new computers for a decade but the capabilities and power has been increasing all the time. We see this trend in bioprocessing in terms of speed and scale.”

– Dr. Niklas Engler, Head of European Technical Development for Biologics at Roche

2) Full implementation of continuous manufacturing

“I strongly believe that we can implement continuous manufacturing in the future, however I think there are so many questions still to be answered and I think we all struggle with the same type of questions. I hope to see it implemented in the next 5-10 years. I think it will be the future because it is easy to put CM in any country so it will help with regulatory approvals, getting the material to the patients in certain countries and overcome the regulatory requirements of each country.”

– Lada Laenen, Senor Director at Allston Landing Manufacturing Science and Technologies Head, Genzyme Corporation

3) Huge improvements in plant productivity

“If you look at where the world is going, chances are there will be, to an order of magnitude, more biopharma products approved over the next 10 years than there were in the previous years. So obviously the productivity of the plants will have to rise by a factor of 10. You cannot simply build 10 times the plants in the next 5-10 years, so that means that every plant has to be a lot more productive, which involves solving some very serious problems.”

– Alexei Voloshin, Global Scientific Services Leader, 3M

4) Partnerships between very large and small facilities

“You have these very high tech, very complex molecules or models, which will grow, but you also have biopharma becoming big in things that are already in the market. So you will have these very sophisticated small facilities, but you will also have more standard, bigger facilities.”

– Ricardo Egea, Director of Bionet Engineering

READ MORE: How accurate were last year’s predictions by
GE Healthcare’s Guenther Jagschies?

5) New systems for a diversity of products

“There’s diversity in the product pipeline right now, as well as different types of therapies being developed, such as biosimilars, antibody drug conjugates, gene and cell therapies. It is how the manufacturer will respond to this that will be a key challenge. Some of the things we’re hearing about are single-use technologies, process integration, and evolving towards continuous manufacturing.”

– Killian O’Driscoll, Director of Projects at NIBRT

6) Faster movement from discovery to clinic

“You need to be able to move very effectively from discovery to clinic. For that you need high platform processes and to have very available toolkits for process engineers in order to push that pipeline. We are still stuck in the legacy world where we are using the same chemistries and the same types of approach.”

– Alexei Voloshin, Global Scientific Services Leader, 3M

 7) Production will become more flexible

“Overall in everything you will need flexibility. The life cycle of products matters much more than investment so you have to prepare your equipment or your factories to be adapted to new products and processes.”

– Ricardo Egea, Director of Bionet Engineering

8) Mistakes will become more damaging

“It’s more important to avoid the slip ups than ever before. In previous years it was like a rally. You could afford to lose ground because you knew you could make up it later. This options isn’t available anymore. Now it’s like a Formula 1 race – if you slip up you could be out of the race completely.”

– Dr. Niklas Engler, Head of European Technical Development for Biologics at Roche

9) ‘Disruptive Innovation’

“It’s not sufficient to have incremental improvement, what we need to achieve is disruptive improvement – 10x improvement rather than 20% improvement. That’s what will help the industry to take the next step and to be able to address all the challenges that we have today and in the near future. It is a combination of very advanced strategies for bioprocess development coupled with the new process technologies. Neither one will be able to give you that disruptive innovation.”

– Alexei Voloshin, Global Scientific Services Leader, 3M

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