It has now been over a year since the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, and the world remains heavily focused on dealing with the impact of what quickly became a life-altering pandemic.
The pharma industry has been in the spotlight, as drugmakers unite in the race to develop, test and manufacture therapeutics and vaccines on a massive global scale. In the background, contract manufacturers are providing a crucial service to the pharma industry, contributing both technical expertise and much-need capacity.
And this has invariably changed the game for pharma contract manufacturers, at least in the short term. According to the 2020 CPhI Annual Report, infectious disease has overtaken oncology as the leading therapeutic area for contract manufacturing service agreements due to the development of COVID-19 vaccines. Additionally, drugmakers are choosing CDMOs close to home, especially when it comes to vaccine manufacturing — bucking past trends of outsourcing production to China and India.
Emergent BioSolutions is a prime example of a CDMO that has stepped up to the challenge of coronavirus vaccine and therapeutics production. For years, the company has partnered with the U.S. government to produce biomedical countermeasures for emerging threats. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, a task order to utilize Emergent’s plant went into effect along with contracts to produce vaccine candidates for both AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
Simultaneously, contract manufacturers must continue to meet global, non-pandemic needs. Many are ramping up to respond to the growing demand for cell and gene therapies — novel and complex biologics at the forefront of innovation for treatment of severe diseases, such as cancer — that have suffered from supply delays.
Two new and promising CDMOs have recently entered the scene in this buzzing sector. The Center for Breakthrough Medicines, set to be fully operational by 2022, is promising to be the biggest cell and gene therapy CDMO in the world, using cutting-edge technologies to provide a one-stop shop with end-to-end advanced therapy production.
This past fall, BioCentriq cut the ribbon on the first fully cGMP cell and gene therapy contract development and clinical manufacturing center located on a U.S. university campus. Developed with support from a star-studded cast of industry experts truly passionate about getting affordable cell and gene therapies to patients, the facility will not only provide needed clinical manufacturing capacity, but also will serve as a hub for workforce training programs.
Environmental responsibility remains an ever-present need in the manufacturing sector. Pharma is taking international climate change goals seriously and will look for partners who align with their strategies. Vetter Pharma, a family owned global CDMO, has for decades placed great importance on environmental protection and sustainability, and now has amassed a list of impressive results to back up those efforts.
All told, these four CDMOs highlight how companies can keep their sights on big-picture issues to drive innovation and make strategic business maneuvers that pay off.
Read the four profiles here: