The pharmaceutical industry must constantly evolve as companies race to develop the next blockbuster drug. As they face pressure to bring new drugs to market more quickly and at minimal cost, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are increasingly outsourcing various parts of the drug development and manufacturing process, explains analyst Kate Kuhrt from Clarivate Analytics. Outsourcing eliminates the need to maintain expensive in-house facilities while providing access to a broad range of different technologies and expertise.
A Nice Insight survey published in January 2017 found that the synthesis of a drug’s biologically active component–the active pharmaceutical ingredient, or API–is the most frequently outsourced part of drug manufacturing. A 2016 survey by the same agency found that 56% of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies outsourced the synthesis of small-molecule APIs at the clinical scale, and about one third of the companies outsourced commercial small-molecule API production. The reverse trend is being reported for biological products, such as vaccines and cellular therapies, Kuhrt says. “In the area of biologics, we’re seeing that outsourcing is decreasing due to the complexity and the promise of developing new intellectual properties.” Nevertheless, a recent Transparency Market Research report predicted that the global API market would expand from $134.7 billion in 2015 to $219.6 billion by 2023.
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