The biopharmaceutical sector is undergoing a significant transformation in treating complex diseases, especially in oncology, driven by innovative drug approaches. This shift entails personalized therapies, combination treatments, and novel go-to-market strategies to address specific patient groups. As the industry expands, companies must acknowledge the upcoming changes and obstacles, including supply-demand dynamics and industry trends.
Novel drug methods have reached a pivotal juncture after years of advancement. Around 100,000 journal articles in 2021 and about 4,000 clinical trials, mostly in early stages, demonstrate the momentum. Over two decades, nearly 1,500 new firms emerged, 150 of which went public. Accelerating approvals, with nine new modality drugs in the last year, offer opportunities to reshape research productivity and biological targets.
Categorizing by maturity, new modalities fall into three groups, considering technological progress, clinical application, and commercial readiness. The past two decades saw over 17 new modalities across these categories. Several novel drug categories have emerged recently, including gene and cell therapies, RNA treatments, and intricate biologics. These modalities have progressed from initial proof of concept to late-stage clinical trials and commercial release. The foundation of many existing therapies remains small molecules, recombinant proteins, and monoclonal antibodies, which have proven effective. Therapeutic antibodies have notably led recent drug development, with over 79 receiving US FDA approval. They’ve become a cornerstone of the industry, especially for cancer treatment.
However, many new modalities remain in the early stages, showing initial efficacy and safety. Examples include oncolytic viruses and mRNA-based therapies. Despite this, approval rates are increasing, with nearly 30 new modality drugs greenlit in the last five years. Successful engagement necessitates expertise in R&D, regulation, manufacturing, supply chains, and commercialization. Firms must assess their capabilities and partnerships to cater to diverse modalities. Aseptic fill finish contract manufacturers play a vital role, particularly in emerging modalities, requiring adaptable and knowledgeable teams.
The emergence of new modalities also impacts the selection of contract manufacturers. Biotech companies need to comprehend market maturity and various influences on their choices. Selecting manufacturing partners demands understanding the unique requirements of each modality, especially for gene therapies. Regulatory compliance is crucial, given evolving standards, making experienced CMOs essential for supporting regulatory submissions.