• Disposable product: probes, sensors, etc. (45 percent)
• Disposable product: bioreactors ( 40. 3 percent)
• Cell culture media ( 38. 9 percent)
• Disposable products, bags, connectors, etc. ( 37. 6 percent)
• Chromatography products ( 36. 9 percent)
• Disposable product: purification ( 34. 9 percent)
It’s not surprising to see disposable products well-represented,
as these are consistently the most in-demand products in terms
of innovation. In particular, demand for development efforts to
focus on disposable bioreactors has grown in recent years, from
31. 7 percent of respondents in 2012 to 40. 3 percent in 2014.
This is an interesting result in light of the afore-mentioned data
concerning future bioreactor choices at manufacturing facilities. Generally, bioreactors are the single largest bioprocessing
expense, with the bioreactor used also largely determining other
up- and down-stream equipment selection.
Beyond the top tier of products, the industry is also expressing
more interest in suppliers’ focus on fill finish services and experi-
• CMOs are far more interested than biotherapeutic devel-
opers in supplier development of disposable probes and
sensors, and disposable product purification products.
• Biotherapeutic developers expressed more interest than
CMOs in control systems, analytical assays and fill finish
• Respondents from Western Europe were the most enthusiastic about disposable bioreactors, with 52.6 percent desiring innovation in this area compared to 36. 6 percent in the
U.S. and 31. 6 percent in the rest of the world.
• U.S. respondents indicated the greatest amount of interest
in chromatography products in comparison to respondents from Western Europe.
What About the Vendor Side of Things?
In surveying suppliers to the industry, we found a similar tilt
towards single-use equipment. When we asked suppliers to cite
the top new technologies or new product development areas
their companies are working on in biomanufacturing, six of the
top eight responses related to disposable products. The top area
of focus for suppliers this past year, however, was bioprocess
Why True Innovation May Be Slow in Coming
With the major established companies committed – on an
economical level - to their current product lines, and with these
involving significant investments and providing what appear to be
Absent from many discussions on innovation today is stain-
less steel equipment. The traditional, time-honored platform for
commercial manufacture of biopharmaceuticals, stainless steel is
simply not as hot a conversational topic.
For example, when we surveyed 258 bioprocessing industry
experts from around the world about the top areas they want
their suppliers to focus their development and innovation efforts
on, fewer than five percent cited stainless steel equipment as even
being in their top five areas. Not surprisingly, three of the top five
areas on the list were single-use/disposable products.
The data, contained in our 11th Annual Report and Survey of
Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Capacity and Production ,
demonstrates how the industry is enthusiastic about new technologies, but has little mind for improving dominant manufacturing platforms. This may be the result of the industry being less
interested in stainless steel innovation because it works, and it's
general satisfaction with what is currently available.
Yet it’s an interesting result, given that stainless steel equipment
figures to remain the most common commercial manufacturing
platform for some time to come. This is true even in the eyes of
our survey respondents, most of whom would still select a stainless steel bioreactor for a theoretical new biologics facility.
Specifically, we asked respondents which of five different bioreactor types they would specify for a new commercial scale biologics facility planned two years from now. We found that 58.3 percent would choose batch fed stainless steel reactors, compared
to only 31. 7 percent who select stainless at clinical scale. This
suggests a shift from clinical-scale manufacture to stainless steel
fed-batch at commercial scale.
Even so, other data indicate an increased willingness to adopt
single-use systems or otherwise abandon batch-fed stainless steel
systems for commercial manufacture, with this confirmed by 48.2
percent stating they would specify single-use batch-fed bioreactors for future commercial manufacture.
While stainless steel might remain the dominant platform in the
near future, the industry is not shy in considering new equipment
that could ultimately displace stainless steel equipment.
What Are The Leading Innovation Demands?
Stainless steel equipment may not be on the innovation agenda,
but there is a group of products that is clearly in demand:
Innovation in Bioprocessing
Stainless steel is here to stay; don’t expect many changes
n By Eric S. Langer, President and Managing Partner, BioPlan Associates, Inc.,