Would biologics stand the test of time?

EDITORIAL COMMENT

Biologics, in the form of monoclonal antibodies have been the revolution to many ailments which were previously not well controlled. However, the experience over the years tells us that this is likely not the holy grail in medicine.

Firstly, manufacturing a biologic is costly. Maintaining a good standardised production is expensive and a huge undertaking.

Secondly, being a large molecule, it is immunogenic. This means that it will likely stimulate your body in producing antibodies against it. We know now that over time, the efficacy or the effect of this drug tends to wane.

Thirdly, being an antibody, it cannot be ingested and hence it has to be injected either through the skin or intravenously. This is a big bummer for individuals with needle phobia.

Forth, being a monoclonal antibody, it requires a cold chain to be maintained. This means that it needs to be kept in a refrigerated condition. Otherwise, it will denature.

The future? Several and they include smaller molecules targeting specific targets and gene therapy. But as of now, biologics is a billion dollar industry covering several sub-specialties in medicine. This is the likely reason for the expansion of biologic facilities.