Industrialization of mAb production technology: the bioprocessing industry at a crossroads

MAbs. 2009 Sep-Oct;1(5):443-52. doi: 10.4161/mabs.1.5.9448. Epub 2009 Sep 16.


Manufacturing processes for therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have evolved tremendously since the first licensed mAb product in 1986. The rapid growth in product demand for mAbs triggered parallel efforts to increase production capacity through construction of large bulk manufacturing plants as well as improvements in cell culture processes to raise product titers. This combination has led to an excess of manufacturing capacity, and together with improvements in conventional purification technologies, promises nearly unlimited production capacity in the foreseeable future. The increase in titers has also led to a marked reduction in production costs, which could then become a relatively small fraction of sales price for future products which are sold at prices at or near current levels. The reduction of capacity and cost pressures for current state-of-the-art bulk production processes may shift the focus of process development efforts and have important implications for both plant design and product development strategies for both biopharmaceutical and contract manufacturing companies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / biosynthesis*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / economics
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Biological Products / biosynthesis*
  • Biological Products / economics
  • Biotechnology* / economics
  • Biotechnology* / instrumentation
  • Biotechnology* / methods
  • CHO Cells
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Drug Industry* / economics
  • Drug Industry* / instrumentation
  • Drug Industry* / methods
  • Equipment Design
  • Facility Design and Construction
  • Humans


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Biological Products