By Mona Akerholm-Kaapro, Elomatic
It has been suggested that as a result of improved technologies it will, in some years, be possible to analyze the complete human genome for only 1000 USD. This will enable members of the public to access their most basic building blocks for a sum of money that not so many years ago would have seemed laughable. How does this affect Elomatic, an engineering company that, amongst others, provides solutions for new production facilities and renewal of existing facilities?
To find the answer one has to assess how the above changes will affect the pharmaceutical industry as a whole. In a nutshell, the new cheaper genome analysis techniques will have a profound and paradigm shifting effect on production within the industry. Drugs will become increasingly personalized, whic h means smaller production batches and production facilities. At the same time governments will invest more money in preventive actions to indetify specific treatments for predicted diseases.
It remains to be seen whether this process will result in vast decreases in the production of painkillers and other com- man drugs. What is certain, however, is that it will be a lengthy process.
Many avenues are being explored to efficiently produce personalized drugs. Some companies are building small production units adjacent to hospitals in order to use patients' own blood for drug preparation. Others are investigating ways of increasing the absorption rates of active ingredients.
Another approach is the modification of genes in micro-organisms to make them cure deseases. An example of this is vaccine production. These micro-organisms need a bio-reactor in order to be cultivated in sufficient numbers to be efficiently applied. Another interesting and promising trend on the market is the utilisation of single-use components as bioreactors and in downstream purification processes.