Pharmaceutical Biotechnology

Traditional pharmaceutical

drugs are relatively small molecules that bind to particular molecular targets and either activate or deactivate biological processes. Small molecules are typically manufactured through traditional organic synthesis, and many can be taken orally.


are large biological molecules such as proteins that are developed to address targets that cannot easily be addressed by small molecules. Due to their larger size, and corresponding difficulty with surviving the stomach, colon and liver, biopharmaceuticals are typically injected.

The first genetically engineered products were medicines designed to treat human diseases. To cite one example, in 1978 developed synthetic humanized insulin to treat diabetes. Some examples of biopharmaceutical medicines are a monoclonal antibody used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, a fusion protein used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, a chimeric monoclonal antibody used in the treatment of cancer.

Biotechnology is also commonly associated with landmark breakthroughs in new medical therapies to treat diseases such as:

hepatitis B and C, cancers, arthritis, haemophilia, bone fractures, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular disorders, Alzheimer, Crohn’s disease, growth disorders, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, asthma, Parkinson’s disease and many rare diseases.

The biotechnology industry has also been instrumental in developing molecular diagnostic devices that can be used to define the target patient population for a given biopharmaceutical. Medicines have already been developed and approved for use with a matching diagnostic test, particularly for treating breast cancer in women.

Most medicines today are based on about 500 molecular targets. Genomic knowledge of the genes involved in diseases, disease pathways, and drug-response sites are expected to lead to the discovery of thousands more new targets.

Genetic testing involves the direct examination of the DNA molecule itself. A scientist scans a patient’s DNA sample for mutated sequences.

Value of Biopharmaceutical Industry