The shift from the blockbuster drug development model to more targeted, niche therapeutics poses new problems to biopharma manufacturers. In this new environment more flexible manufacturing plants are needed and modular construction could help drugmakers achieve this goal.
“New plants could have a more modular approach which would incorporate single-use technology. That's where the harbinger of change will occur”, principal engineer, regional director, Massachusetts Hyde Engineering + Consulting, Inc, said at Interphex 2012.
Several factors are expected to drive the shift to modular biopharma production plants. Modular plants need fewer contractors on site during construction, Lear said, and allow for a “more flexible” approachto the building process. This fits with needs of the post-blockbuster biopharma world.
Flexibility could continue into the inside of production plants. Lear talked up the benefits of hybrid single-use facilities. Single-use components are found throughout the production chain but, in the case study discussed by Lear, were most common in downstream processing.