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Differences between Biologics and Pharmaceuticals

Clinical Research

Differences between Biologics and Pharmaceuticals

As pharmaceutical companies are looking forward to expand their territories and expand their offerings in terms of products, the trend is moving towards Biologics. This brings us to our topic of discussion of what is the basic difference between a biologic and a conventional pharmaceutical product?

A biologic is treatment which is derived from a biological method and is mainly composed of sugar, proteins, nucleic acids and maybe of living entities as cells and tissues. Pharmaceuticals on the other hand are chemically synthesized and their structure is known. Their mode of manufacturing is also different. A biologic is usually manufactured in a living system such as a cell, a micro organism or a living system. Biologics are very complex and large molecules and the technology used to manufacture them is termed as Recombinant DNA Technology. A pharmaceutical is manufactured through synthesis of chemicals and in predefined and orderly process. Since drugs have well defined chemical structures, it is possible to analyze each of its components in a laboratory setting but the same cannot be said about a biologic. Some of the aspects of a biologic may be undefined due to its complexity. Due to this nature, scientists cannot change too much as far as manufacturing of the biologic is concerned. But a pharmaceutical manufacturer can take the liberty of changing the manufacturing process of the final product to establish changes before and after.

There is a tight control of use when it comes to the natural sources of a biologic as they are sensitive to minor changes in the environments. Compared to this, the chemicals require to use in the manufacture of a pharmaceutical can be stored easily. Biologics offer more patent protection for the original manufacturer as making a finished and fully functional biologic is not an easy task and the manufacturer will have an intimate knowledge and experience which is difficult for the other manufacturer to reproduce. So these are some of the basic differences between a biological product and a pharmaceutical.

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