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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Contract Manufacturing for Small Biotechs

Much has been written recently about the burgeoning growth of biopharmaceutical business and the looming capacity crunch in biologics manufacture. Numerous enterprises are investing heavily in the production of stainless steel so that they are positioned to churn out lucrative, premium-priced biopharmaceuticals that are already approved or forecast to be approved in the coming years. The emergence of biopharmaceuticals as effective therapeutics, coupled with a trend to outsource biologic manufacturing, has led to unprecedented growth in 'third party' contract manufacturing organisations (CMOs) and much of the additional capacity will come from that sector. Here in Canada for example, a €100 million expansion to provide 60,000L of animal cell culture capability has recently been announced by DSM Biologics.

Many of the CMOs are positioning themselves to capture the long-term, large-volume supply contracts offered by big pharma or big biotech that are more lucrative than the high-risk developmental projects typical of smaller, early-stage biotech companies trying to get their products into the clinic for the first-in-man trials. Due to the high risk of failure for early-stage biotech projects, the chances of them eventually leading to long-term supply agreements are relatively small.


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By Dr David Cox, PhD, CEO of KS Avicenna Inc

Dr David Cox is CEO of KS Avicenna Inc, a cGMP contract manufacturer of fermentation-derived biologies. He has more than 25 years of experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries in both the UK and Canada. Prior to his appointment with KS Avicenna, Dr Cox was CEO of Synsorb Biotech Inc, a publicly traded biotech company listed on the TSE and Nasdaq. Dr Cox's experience also includes CEO of Apotex Fermentation Inc and VP Advanced Technologies for the Alberta Research Council.

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Dr David Cox
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