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Author: Tom Hochuli, CEO.

One of the key things that I have learned from my many years in the biopharma market is that it is not only important to work with a trusted contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) to develop and commercialize your product, but that it is vital to reach out and engage with your partner early as well.

In fact, there are a host of efficiency advantages to you and your finished product by bringing your chosen partner on board when you are in the planning stage for your drug development project, rather than only engaging them at the point where you need their support.

Nowhere is this better exemplified than in the ongoing race to develop and deliver vaccines to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of writing, there are now three vaccines approved for use in the US, and three approved for use in Europe, with more on the way. To deliver so many viable vaccines in the space of a year is an incredible achievement, and is testament to the value of collaboration between drug developers and CDMOs from the very beginning of a project.

Collaboration is king

As we have seen with the COVID-19 vaccines, biopharma and virotherapy companies are turning to CDMOs for support for a key reason – many lack specialist capabilities to develop and manufacture their discoveries themselves.

Large established pharma companies, for example, may lack the in-house flexibility, capacity or specific expertise to bring their virotherapy or biologics discovery to market. Start-up biotechs, on the other hand, do not have the manufacturing capacity or financial capital to invest in building their own development and production capability.

CDMOs have a lot to offer both of these categories of developer. By their nature, CDMOs have the specialist bricks-and-mortar infrastructure already in place to support developers in designing a unique process to successfully scale and commercialize their virotherapy discovery. This means that developers don’t have to invest in costly new facilities themselves until they are certain of the commercial viability of their new treatment.

In addition, many CDMOs are backed by well-established and experienced private equity, which allows them to continually advance their specialist capabilities to support customers’ needs. They also work closely with customers when investing in new lines and equipment to ensure new infrastructure is tailored to their requirements, helping customers to deliver future projects even more effectively.

Engage CDMOs early to get the most out of them

If you truly want to ensure the effectiveness and value of your product, and to deliver the best return on investment at the commercialization stage, it is vital that you engage your CDMO partner at the earliest opportunity. Doing so can have an enormous positive impact.

Engaging them right at the beginning of your discovery means that the CDMO can build the deepest possible understanding of the treatment being developed. They can then provide their expert guidance to optimize its real-world therapeutic effectiveness.

CDMOs can also proactively support in the planning of each step of your project, advising on everything, from when to start tech transfer, to the steps that can be taken at the beginning of the process to make it easier to scale-up production of the drug.

Early engagement also means that the CDMO can take steps to begin developing the manufacturing processes needed for successful commercialization straight away, identifying and rectifying any issues that could cause delays further down the line.

With this support, drug developers can be confident that the project will run as smoothly as possible, with minimal time-to-market for the new treatment after it passes the testing phase. As a result, companies and patients can begin benefiting from the innovation as quickly as possible.

Benefit from expert guidance now

This is an exciting time for the biopharma and virotherapy space, which is forecasted to be worth $332.4 billion by 2025. There is considerable innovation from a host of companies delivering exciting new treatments that are helping improve the lives of patients around the world.

As I recently explained in an interview with Erin Harris, editor of Cell & Gene, these drug developers need support to bring their cutting-edge solutions to the market. By collaborating with expert CDMOs with vital knowledge in virotherapies, they can ensure they have the capability and the flexibility they need to produce their innovations.

To find out more about how specialist biopharma CDMOs can support your project, visit our Virotherapy Manufacturing page.

Alternatively, you can talk to one of our expert team by clicking here.