It’s fair to say that now is a time of change throughout the world. I often find myself pondering what the future will hold. We see change on many levels, from macro trends such as political and economical uncertainty and climate challenges through to small changes which affect each person individually. I write this blog in the midst of major house renovations, practically entirely covered in dust!
Interesting changes both globally and for me individually are seen within the pharmaceutical world. Here protein based therapeutics continue to be the fastest growing class of novel therapeutic and diagnostic agents, and a major focus in biopharmaceutical product development. Biotherapeutics themselves are also changing, becoming even more complex and heterogeneous with the emergence of antibody-drug-conjugates (ADCs) and bispecifics.
When compared to small molecule drugs, biotherapeutics are immensely more complex. With molecular weights exceeding 100kDa and more, they often exist as isoforms, multimeric complexes or synthetic derivatives as is the case with bispecifics and ADCs, respectively. Each amino acid which makes up a biotherapeutic molecule has the potential to be modified in multiple ways (for instance by deamination, glycosylation, oxidation and/or reduction). In theory, a 150 kDa antibody can form more than 10,000 variants, with any one of these changes individually having the potential to effect drug efficacy, safety and its production.
Comprehensive characterization of these ever more complex biotherapeutics is driving the emergence of new analytical challenges. Scientists throughout the world are embracing these challenges and coming up with innovative ways to overcome them. Within my role I get to see and hear about technological advancements which have been designed specifically to meet increased analytical demands. It’s certainly a very exciting time.
This year Thermo Fisher Scientific will host Biopharmaceutical Characterization Summits across the world. These events have been designed to provide a great opportunity for BioPharma scientists to share insights, learn from each other and keep up to date with technology innovations. We invite you all join us and work together to meet the evolving challenges of BioPharma and shape the future together.
Success is rarely the result of individuals working entirely alone. Partnerships and collaboration have led to some of the biggest medical and scientific breakthroughs of all time:
The basis of modern biotechnology - the double-helix model of DNA
Working on Maurice Wilkins’ idea to study DNA by X-ray crystallographic techniques, Rosalind Franklin obtained the first images of DNA, allowing James Watson and Francis Crick to create their famous double-helix model.
Surgical anestetics and antisepsis
"Anesthetic made it possible to operate on a patient without pain," Baker notes, "but without antisepsis they'd die anyway."
My personal favourite....
Ben & Jerry’s
Honestly, where would we be without cookie dough? The childhood friendship between Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield brought us comfort in our times of need. Ice cream is medicinal, right!?