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What is biopharma?

Biopharmaceuticals, typically shortened as “biopharma” or “biologics,” are drugs derived from biological sources that treat a wide range of diseases across all fields of medicine. Scientists develop biopharmaceuticals from organisms or living cells. There are many types of biopharma drugs, including vaccines, hormones, monoclonal antibodies and therapeutic enzymes. Patients usually receive biopharmaceuticals via shots.  

Biopharmaceuticals can be challenging and costly to produce, store and move. Continually shifting regulations can make the industry especially difficult to navigate. Two important regulatory classes of biopharma drugs are biosimilars and biobetters. As the names suggest, biosimilars are follow-on drugs that are similar to approved biopharmaceuticals; biobetters are safer, more effective versions of existing drugs. 

Biopharma can also refer to the industry, market segments and companies related to these biological products.  

Why is biopharma important to healthcare?

Biopharma is important because biologics can accurately target and treat many illnesses with greater efficacy than many totally synthesized pharmaceuticals, including metabolic disorders and cancers. Because of the safety and efficacy demonstrated by this category of drugs, biopharma greatly improves many patients’ quality of life.