Biologics include a diverse range of complex therapeutic products including vaccines, hormones, RNA-based molecules, target-specific antibodies and recombinant proteins.
Traditional medicines and small molecule-based drugs are typically developed by chemical synthesis. In contrast, Biologics are made by recombinant DNA technology and harvested from naturally occurring materials from a cell’s biological processes. Biologics include a diverse range of complex therapeutic products including vaccines, hormones, RNA-based molecules, target-specific antibodies and recombinant proteins. Biologics potentially offer significant advantages over small molecule therapies, due to their inherent ability to target specific host receptors, cells and proteins, activating more potent interactions, whilst also offering additional benefits such as reduced off-target toxicity.
Whilst vaccines have been used for more than 100 years, the production of biomedicines – or drugs produced through biological processes, are relatively recent advances, beginning in the 1980’s with the development of recombinant proteins such as insulin for the treatment of diabetes. Today, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) dominate the global pharmaceutical market representing seven of the top ten best-selling drugs.
Biologics have proven particularly promising in the fields of oncology and chronic diseases such as autoimmune and infectious diseases, shifting the diagnosis and treatment paradigms for these disease categories and offering new hope to patients where no effective treatments were previously available. It remains unlikely that biologics will completely replace traditional drugs, but they can offer significant new options for targeting diseases that were previously untreatable.
Biologic-based therapeutics are an exciting field for many researchers looking to advance innovative scientific advances and continuing to develop personalised medicine approaches and offer more efficient treatments for patients. The NBF remains committed to provide an expanded offering with the latest infrastructure, platforms and now-how to remain relevant with the new and emerging biologics-based therapeutics.