Contemporary Advances and Precincts of Biopharming as Drugs’ Production Systems

Apollo O. Maima, Were L.L. Munyendo


The pharmaceutical industry has been criticized for not availing more innovative medicines for treatment of emerging and changing diseases. The sharp decline in the number of new drug approvals in the last decade can be attributed particularly to attrition of the small organic molecules during origination and development. Constraints to traditional drug discovery are compounded by among others drug candidates for central nervous system (CNS) disorders facing additional barriers than those intended for other therapeutic application. Additionally, the antineoplastic agents precipitate severe toxic effects. Currently, the prohibitive cost of biopharmaceuticals limits their availability and use. It is therefore becoming imperative that alternative approaches, like biopharming, be considered as avenues for availing medicines for such illnesses. Moreover, increasingly, attention is also shifting to larger and more complex protein molecules as therapeutic agents. Through an extensive review of published literature on recent studies, this paper presents fundamental intuitions that continue to be recognized as advances and precincts. The solution seems to be in more use of biotechnologically plant-derived biopharmaceuticals and humanized substances. The contemporary biopharmaceutical production systems involves transfecting cells using bacteria and virus or by biolistic delivery method; exploration of Genetically Modified Drugs (GMD); and Plant Made Pharmaceuticals (PMP). All these have presented advantages like low costs and an already available technology for harnessing. However, uncertainties range from competing platforms, unresolved technical problems, patent and regulatory issues, potential risks to human health, issues of gene spread, and animal-welfare concerns. Cultivating plants to manufacture drugs would involve many controls and regulations that differ from region to region across the globe in respect to the regulatory authorities. Meanwhile African perspectives on genetically modified organisms need to focus on the science and learning for formulation of policies and agreements to harmonize national and regional bio-safety policies. In conclusion, Pharmacists need to appreciate the huge responsibility that comes with biopharming and, especially, the need for stringent professional, ethical and regulatory controls.

Keywords: Biologics, Biopharmaceuticals, Biopharming, Genetically Modified Drugs, Plant Made Pharmaceuticals

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3186 ISSN (Online)2225-0921

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