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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Life after Blockbusters

Very soon, most big pharmaceutical manufacturers will be faced with the challenge that many ‘blockbuster’ drugs will be coming off patent, resulting in lean times for their manufacturing pipelines. Generic companies are lining up to take over wellestablished markets, often within hours of patent expiry. As a consequence, big pharma faces a cliff edge that will have a massive impact on the industry. As the supply of new drugs dwindles, the shortfall will be most keenly felt by manufacturing companies, who will have fewer valuable products to manufacture.

This situation has long been predicted and the industry has been frantically restructuring, with several waves of high profile mergers and acquisitions. Enormous sums of money have been pumped into discovery research, which has been through many ‘paradigm shifts’ to improve productivity. On the surface, new product pipelines appear to be flowing again, but the signs are not good for manufacturing in the short-term. Ironically, although big pharma has been fairly immune to the current credit crisis, its problem time is looming for very different reasons.

 


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Jon Howells is a Consultant in Life Sciences and Healthcare, based at PA’s Cambridge Technology Centre in the UK. Jon is a chemist with 20 years industrial experience in pharmaceutical development and manufacturing, mostly at GlaxoSmithKline. He develops novel healthcare technologies covering pharmaceutical, medical devices and combination products for clients worldwide. Jon develops and implements new processes for drug product manufacture across the life cycle, from pre-clinical through to production. In delivering best practice and cost management initiatives, he has gained strong insight into the most effective way for pharma stakeholders to operate  for mutual benefit.

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