Wednesday, September 18, 2013

#BPIConf 2013: Producing High Quality, Low Cost Biotherapeutics in the Century of Biology

One of our first keynote of the BioProcess International Conference was James Thomas, Ph.D., Vice President, Process and Product Development and WA Site Head, Amgen, Inc.

He began by sharing that bioprocess professionals set out to do is develop a molecule that can target disease effectively. In the protein modality space there will be a lot of varieties. We know that protein therapeutics are complicated. The antibodies have attributes and it’s important to figure out what factors into the therapeutics.

Process development improvement is working towards enhancing expression level of the clones.  It depends on the facilities and what they can hold. If in a less fixed environment, there is space to expand. In the future, we’ll see more mass maid product volume. We need approaches to be able to exploit the ability to generate more mass. The system biology tools in the age of the computer will allow more sophistication. It’s likely that those experts in the modeling space will contribute to this.   As it stands, the healthcare industry can’t afford Pharma’s current methods of innovation.  How can this industry work to improve that?  Facilities must be designed to be flexible enough to manufacture a lot of molecules effectively. Raw materials and plants will be commodities. This is one way to drive down the cost of medication. A plant should be as flexible as possible. You could design the plant to produce as many therapeutics as needed.

Abbie Celniker, Ph.D., CEO, Eleven Biotherapeutic also joined us to present Transforming the Development of Biotechnology Drugs for the 21st Century: A CEO’s Perspective from a Small Biotech Company  During her presentation, she looked at some of the life of a small biotech company. Small biotech companies are dependent on funding and fundraising is constantly going on. There were virtually no IPOs in biotech between 2008-2011. This is changing because new investing in biotech in 2013 has grown rapidly. It could open up investing tremendously – she uses the 1990s as an ideal point in time. Most biotechs in this time frame knew that M&A was a way out so they had to develop products that were desired by Pharma. Less productive companies were driven out of the market. Companies had to have great intellectual property – it’s the formulation, manufacturing, and configuration. A biotech company is faced with Value Creation and charged with with the creation of new medicines have to matter a lot to their potential purchasers. Biotech companies know they have science and technology to develop the new transformative medications. These companies are positioned to fill this need for Pharma. From the
beginning of drug creation, a company has to think of all stake holders – patients, payers, regulators, investors and more.

We finished our evening in the Poster and Exhibit Hall for the Oktoberfest celebration - networking and meeting colleagues.  We hope to see you tonight in the exhibit hall at 5:45PM again for more great networking with the 2nd Annual Mixed-Mode Mixer!

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