Process Intensification
Oct 15, 2021
| 8 min

Using Process Intensification to Lower the Cost of Manufacturing Biologics

Biopharmaceutical manufacturing costs affect not just business objectives but also therapeutic costs and accessibility. Find out how process intensification strategies can help you achieve savings without sacrificing quality.

This article is posted on our Sartorius Marketing Blog.


Meeting cost pressures goes hand in hand with both business and therapeutic success in the pharmaceutical industry. Unfortunately, specialty biologic drugs can be particularly expensive to produce, requiring innovation from biopharma manufacturers to bring these treatments from concepts to reality. There’s only so far you can go using traditional production lines composed of the same old stainless-steel fed-batch bioreactors.

Process intensification will become a paradigm shift in the way we’re designing facilities and processes and the way we’re producing medicines. We now have methods to drive the cost of goods down while maintaining patient safety and product quality, so why wouldn’t we do it? It’s not a matter of if, but when.

Get a head start on this paradigm-shifting trend — keep reading to find out how bioprocess intensification can yield cost savings and how you can optimize critical aspects of your  biomanufacturing strategy.


Why Intensify to Reduce the Cost of Manufacturing Biologics?

Biomanufacturing cost incentives come from multiple directions. It can often feel like a never-ending balancing act for a biopharma company to accomplish all of the following:

  • Remaining competitive — Biopharma has some of the fiercest competition of any industry. Every business wants to raise profits, capture market share, and secure capital that can be reinvested to drive further innovation.  
  • Satisfying investors — Especially for small biotech companies, proving profitability and investment payoff within specific timelines is a matter of business life and death.
  • Lowering biologic drug costs for patients — Diseases don’t choose patients based on wealth. Keeping the cost of goods low is crucial for ensuring everyone has affordable access to the medicines they need.

Process intensification is the best way to address all of these needs at once because it allows you to reduce costs and increase efficiency without cutting corners or sacrificing quality. According to theoretical modeling by Dieter Eibl, Ph.D. and Regine Eibl-Schindler, Ph.D., professors at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), biomanufacturers can achieve cost savings of up to 50 percent with process intensification!

Some process intensification technologies and strategies allow you to directly lower overall expenditures on material and consumables. In addition, there are some relatively simple ways to implement intensification that can indirectly lower volumetric product cost. This can include mitigating facility cost by reducing expensive cleanroom footprint or increasing throughput enough to lower the number of batches required to reach your goals.



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Key Considerations for Reducing Cost of Goods with Bioprocess Intensification

While process intensification is often the best overarching strategy for you to lower the cost of manufacturing biologics, you’ll still need to determine which intensification approaches will work best for your organization. Some initial questions to ask yourself include:

  • Where are your greatest cost pressures?
    One of the many benefits of process intensification is that it allows you to make iterative, targeted changes to your bioprocess rather than overhauling it entirely at once. You should examine your bioprocess from start to finish to find areas where you stand to gain the most based on your manufacturing modality, existing infrastructure, geography, and target market. You may also find inefficiencies that can be corrected through materials optimization or other interventions.
  • How do you expect your cost distribution to change as you scale up production?
    Biomanufacturing cost distributions can vary dramatically with process scale. At low production volumes, which are common in preclinical stages, facility overhead and labor tend to dominate cost considerations. However, as drugs gain approval and production scales up, raw materials such as reagents and consumables often become the major expense. As a result, it’s important to make sure your planned intensifications will optimize costs for your bioprocess in both its current and future forms.
  • Do you have the up-front capital to invest in process development and intensification to reap cost benefits later?
    The adage that “sometimes you have to spend money to save money” is just as true in biomanufacturing as it is in other industries. For some process intensification strategies, you’ll need to invest in new technologies and process development to save costs down the road. In most cases, it’s worthwhile, yet your resources are often limited. It is critical to factor upfront costs into your existing budget, balanced with the need to plan ahead for lowering future expenses down the road.

We can help you answer these questions in detail with our comprehensive process intensification report. The report includes real-world scenarios and insights from bioprocess experts across the industry who have implemented process intensification strategies in their own facilities to realize cost savings. Among other things, you’ll learn about specific upstream and downstream technologies that are cost-effective to implement, and you’ll find out how to optimize your media and cell lines for additional savings. To make your bioprocess more cost-efficient, download the report today!

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