This week Process Development Forum speaks with Eric Langer, President and Managing Partner at BioPlan Associates, and the author of a number of biopharma studies, about the role of CMO’s in Bioprocessing.
PDF: Contract Manufacturing Organizations (CMO’s) seem to be assuming a larger role in biopharma processing. Can you tell us why that is?
Eric: Based on our 11th Annual Report, this focus on productivity is changing the way companies outsource, For example, there’s been a real push for more efficiency and productivity in bio manufacturing and development. Simultaneously, it’s getting increasingly difficult to find the right talent—our study of global biopharma companies shows that finding qualified professional staff in upstream process development is their number one challenge. In Europe, 53% of decision makers see a shrinking talent pool as an on-going problem.
CMO’s are seen increasingly as valuable partners because they work on a wide variety of projects, so their teams have breadth of experience. They’re also handed the big challenges that pharmas may not be able to resolve in-house. That means CMO’s have a leg up when they’re handed a new project—chances are they’ve resolved or worked on something similar, so they can ramp up more quickly and efficiently, increasing productivity and the success rate.
PDF: Are CMO’s taking on more development work?
Eric: Yes, traditionally CMO’s have focused on manufacturing. But more and more are taking on development tasks, so they can provide a broader scope of services; they’re moving into the CDMO’s model. An upside to this model is that many breakthrough biologics and innovative platforms are coming from small, start-up research companies, but their resources are limited. To get involved in development would drain their research resources. By partnering with a full-service CDMO, these small start-ups can stay focused on their research, while the CDMO invests in the development as well as the manufacturing.
Read more Q&A's with Industry Leaders here.