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MIT Research News

October 1, 2018

Manufacturing small biopharmaceutical batches on demand

This new system can be rapidly reconfigured to produce a variety of protein drugs.

Anne Trafton | MIT News Office

Biopharmaceuticals, a class of drugs comprising proteins such as antibodies and hormones, represent a fast-growing sector of the pharmaceutical industry. They’re increasingly important for “precision medicine” — drugs tailored toward the genetic or molecular profiles of particular groups of patients.

Such drugs are normally manufactured at large facilities dedicated to a single product, using processes that are difficult to reconfigure. This rigidity means that manufacturers tend to focus on drugs needed by many patients, while drugs that could help smaller populations of patients may not be made.