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Servier shares its expertise and future prospects at the France Bioproduction Congress

Biomedicines are a new generation of medicine whose active ingredients are derived from living systems of biological origin, such as proteins, antibodies, cells, etc. They offer therapeutic alternatives to chemical molecules and hope for many patients.

Consequently, the biomedical production sector is a key factor in addressing the healthcare challenges of today and tomorrow. It has been identified as such in the Santé 2030 health plan in France. And outside France, it’s an industry of excellence that should be developed for patients in Europe and around the world.

French biomanufacturing faces major challenges that could determine the sector’s future :

  • Biomanufacturing sites reaching the critical size that would make them attractive on a European and international scale;
  • Organization that demonstrates flexibility and versatility;
  • Medium- and long-term vision for sustainable development of the industry: the need to anticipate regulations and societal expectations in terms of CSR;
  • Dynamic development in France, and a growing awareness of the European context: financing, customers, suppliers, competitors, investors;
  • Training to identify future needs and stay at the cutting edge of expertise in this field.
  • The Servier Group is a driving force in all these stakes and is making a tangible commitment to them, particularly through its Bio-S biomanufacturing unit in the Loiret region of France. By the end of the year, this unit will be qualified to produce batches used in clinical trials.

In 2020, Servier expanded its portfolio of biomedicine candidates through the acquisition of Symphogen, a Denmark-based platform for the development of therapeutic antibodies.

Servier is also committed to the field of education. In 2020, Servier and Sanofi joined forces with the University of Tours to create the Digital Biotech Campus.

Servier will use the 10,000 m² site to develop manufacturing processes and analytical methods, manufacture clinical batches of active ingredients and experimental biomedicines for clinical trials, thereby boosting research to serve patient needs.

On-site expertise includes integration of specific sensors in bioreactors in order to deliver on-line control, introduction of new culture media (the critical raw material for determining production yields), and industrial scale-up of production developed on smaller volumes. Simultaneously, recent technologies are expected to enable a rapid transition to production methods driven by artificial intelligence in order to better regulate production parameters and even better anticipate changes by implementing digital twins for each unit.

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Since the 1980s, biomanufacturing has evolved to provide patients with a whole range of new biological therapies based on the development of technologies, such as genetic engineering and bioinformatics.

  1. Introduction of biological therapies: The introduction of the first biological therapies in the 1980s, such as recombinant insulin and growth factors, led to the creation of the first biomanufacturing units. These advances required a transfer of knowledge and technology from academic research to the pharmaceutical industry.
  2. Adoption of monoclonal antibody technology: In the 1990s and early 2000s, the widespread adoption of monoclonal antibody (mAb) technology revolutionized drug biomanufacturing. mAbs have become powerful tools for targeting specific diseases, particularly cancer and autoimmune diseases.
  3. Emergence of gene and cell therapy: Over the past two decades, the emergence of gene and cell therapy has been a major breakthrough for patients with rare diseases. These therapies use viral vectors or modified cells to treat diseases by genetically modifying the patient’s own cells. This has required close collaboration between the biotechnology, regenerative medicine, and pharmaceutical industries to develop safe and effective production techniques.
  4. Integration of artificial intelligence and automation: More recently, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation in biomanufacturing has improved the efficiency, quality, and speed of drug development and production.