In 1919, Karl Ereky, a Hungarian Engineer coined the term “Biotechnology” which zescribes the use of human technology based on using biology to turn raw materials into socially active products. Almost a century later the vision of Ereky is impacting a large number of companies and research institutions.
Modern biotechnology has its roots in the 1970s in Northern California, and has now become a worldwide industry which produces various medicines for patients. It now boosts of sectors such as healthcare (biologics, devices, diagnostics) agriculture (genetically modified organism, food safety), industry and environment (biofuels, biomaterials, pollution) and biodefense (vaccines, biosensors). This study will be primarily on healthcare.
Drug is a medicinal substance for prevention management or cure of an illness. FDA which stands for the United States Food and Drug Administration must give approval of all drugs before they are sold to the general public. Likewise most countries have such regulatory bodies that evaluates drugs following global guidelines before it is given for public consumption. Most common amongst drugs are the synthesized drugs like Aspirin, the Pharmaceutical industry manufactures synthetic drugs, whilst the biotechnological has given birth to a newer class of drugs: The Biologic.
Biologics are drugs from living organism and consists of curative proteins such as, DNA vaccines, monoclonal antibodies and peptibodies. This in essence is a combination of the active portion of a protein (peptide) with a portion of the inherent structure of an antibody as well as experimental modalities like gene therapy, stem cell therapy, antisense nucleotides and RNA viruses. A host of biotechnology drugs are Proteins derived from amino acids. These proteins are the driving force and perform all functions within a cell. As cells produce proteins naturally, the biotechnological companies use chemicals but make utilization of cells to produce biologics.
Note: To market a new drug from discovery to its ultimate sale takes about 10 years to 15 years and cost upwards of $ 1 billion. One in ten new research drugs become successful and companies therefore depend on the revenue of a successful drug to offset the cost incurred for the failure of the other research drugs.