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The world reacted to the Covid-19 pandemic at an unprecedented pace. And it’s never been more important for the healthcare industry to respond with agile innovation and effective, rapid production.
Outsourcing is key to this rapid response. It allows pharmaceutical companies to accelerate drug production timelines and increase delivery volumes, allowing experts to focus on drug discovery and development. In the pharmaceutical industry, such service providers are known as contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMO) and they help the pharmaceutical companies get medicine to those who need it, faster.
Leveraging its heritage in photographic film, Fujifilm has positioned itself as a CDMO partner to the pharmaceutical industry. It has played a role in the medical field since the 1930s, gradually evolving to provide comprehensive healthcare services including its entrance into the pharmaceutical arena in 2008. The company’s biopharmaceutical CDMO (Bio CDMO) manufacturing arm, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, was added in 2011 and is partner to many of the top 20 biopharmaceutical companies in the world.
Biopharmaceuticals are produced using the biological functions of organisms and are difficult to manufacture as the process involves living organisms – cells – which are sensitive to the subtlest of environmental changes. Technologies developed for working with film — including maintaining constant conditions and rigorous quality control — have translated perfectly to the world of biopharmaceuticals. Fujifilm has applied its proprietary technologies to biopharmaceuticals to increase FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies’ manufacturing success rate substantially.
The Building Blocks
FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies manufactures active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for various antibody drugs, including monoclonal antibodies.
Monoclonal antibodies are a type of protein used for treatment of a wide array of medical indications. Their mechanism of action includes: Blocking those signals which tell cancer cells to divide, carrying drugs only to cancer cells, helping the immune system catch and kill cancer cells, and blocking those signals which allow cancer cells to develop their own blood supply.
FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies’ high-tech labs build APIs for different types of vaccines, including viral vector and recombinant DNA vaccines.
The earliest vaccines used live bacteria or viruses to produce immunity to diseases such as small pox and rabies. Recombinant vaccines are genetically engineered using DNA encoding that stimulates a response in the body, activating the immune system.
Gene Therapy Drugs
Gene therapy treats or prevents disease by replacing a faulty gene, inactivating a mutated gene, or adding a new gene. FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies’ labs support the creation of gene therapy drugs and the vectors that deliver them.
Gene therapy drugs can be challenging to produce, and many are under clinical trials. These medicines show potential for treating diseases such as muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, diabetes, and AIDS.
Leading the Way
FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies’ Apollo XTM platform produces one of the world’s highest levels of antibodies in a high-quality cell line which is the critical first step in any biopharmaceutical manufacturing process. The company has also developed a state-of-the-art, end-to-end, cell culture and purification system, which accelerates production.
FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies assists in the manufacturing of recombinant protein vaccines used for multiple indications including Covid-19.
FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies works with a variety of viral vectors and cell culture platforms to help develop the manufacturing process, leading to commercial production for gene therapy products. Cutting edge mobile clean rooms (MCR) deliver the highest standards of containment during the manufacturing process.
Looking to the Future
Fujifilm has successfully adapted its core competencies, through the application of innovative technologies and state-of-the-art facilities, to grow its Bio CDMO arm. A big part of the company’s success is a strong culture that prizes “Gemba,” the Japanese term for the ‘Go See’ mindset and providing “Value from Innovation” to the society in every aspect. This independence of spirit originates in the world of film, when there were no industry standards, and technologies often had to be invented in-house.
Fujifilm is looking to the future with determination and an open mind. It plans to increase its involvement in the development of novel biotherapeutics and promote joint research with medical institutions. Continued global expansion will see an investment of almost $5.6 billion by 2025 from Fujifilm’s entrance into biopharmaceutical field, with production capacity more than doubling from 2021 through to 2025 — bringing skilled jobs and corporate investment to communities across the globe.