CPI_FoF1For many, precision medicine is seen as the cornerstone of future healthcare; tailoring treatments to individual patients for improved outcomes. In today’s blog, the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) discuss advances in healthcare and how innovations in biopharmaceutical manufacture could drastically enhance the future of medicine.

Imagine a world where disease outbreaks could be stopped at the source, a world where patients could receive personalised treatment for specific diseases and have it manufactured at their bedside. The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) is working towards making this concept a reality by helping companies to scale down traditional biopharmaceutical manufacturing methods and develop new techniques for the future delivery of precision medicine.

Current challenges

The global Healthcare and Life Sciences sector is in the midst of change which presents both opportunities and challenges to patients, hospitals and business alike. This change is being driven by supply and demand pressures, lifestyle choices, longevity and a rise in the incidence of chronic disease.

The current worldwide population is over 7 billion and is rising exponentially. By 2050, it is estimated that one in five of the population will be over 60, bringing a rise in the frequency of age related disorders such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders. Furthermore, since 1980 there has been a global rise in human infectious disease outbreaks, the recent Ebola epidemic demonstrated the reality of this. These statistics identify not only a demand for change, but an opportunity to develop new ways in which therapies are developed, manufactured, transported and administered.

Many current treatments offer a ‘one size fits all’ approach meaning the same drug is administered to a large cohort of patients who have been diagnosed with a particular disease. It is an unfortunate fact that not all patients respond in the same way to this type of treatment and side effects often vary.

Precision medicine

CPI_FoF3Technical advances in DNA sequencing are enabling medical researchers to determine the molecular basis of disease. This facilitates the differentiation of single diseases into multiple subtypes which in turn enables the design of therapies that specifically address the causative factors of the disease.

These advances have made it possible to diagnose and effectively treat a rapidly growing number of diseases much earlier and with greater precision than ever before. Known as precision medicine, it is enabling medical professionals to customise therapies for smaller patient groups, maximising the effectiveness of treatment and minimising their side effects.

Precision medicine offers the ability to tailor a drug to meet the patients’ specific needs, but it comes with technological challenges, specifically in the way they are manufactured and administered.

The Factory of the Future

Looking to the future, it is likely that we will see a shift in the way medicines are manufactured. Whilst current manufacturing plants will remain in operation for some time to serve the market for large volume therapies, the production of small volumes of an increasing number of therapies is not practical or cost effective in the current manufacturing formats. There are a number of potential solutions to this challenge, including scaling down and integrating process technologies into a small scale single format manufacturing unit which can rapidly change between different products and can produce small volumes of specific therapies cost effectively. These units could be used to treat small patient cohorts or transported round the world to manufacture at the site of an epidemic. The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) is working towards making this concept a reality by helping companies to scale down traditional biopharmaceutical manufacturing methods and develop new techniques for the delivery of precision medicine in the future.

Innovation in the manufacture of precision medicine is imperative to the progression of healthcare both in the UK and across the globe. As technology progresses the possibilities are endless, from tailored cancer treatment specific to a patient, to treating outbreaks of disease, precision medicine is the future of healthcare and CPI is helping to drive this vision.

For more information on the Factory of the Future, please visit the CPI website