Biopharma outsourcing goes international

Outsourcing in biomanufacturing has long been on a steady upward trend. This year, there are few indications of significant slowdown. This is partly due to COVID-19 — according to our recent research, 70% of the biopharma industry is planning to increase their future outsourcing in an effort to address supply chain risks. Small companies continue to be major sources for innovation, and many have an active pipeline of products in development.

Increase in offshoring of biologics

In the 2021 Annual Report, we evaluated responses over 10 years (from 2011 to 2021) regarding the percentage of biomanufacturers/developers that plan to offshore (outsource internationally) at least some (any) of the indicated activities within the next five years. While all areas of manufacturing reported record or near-record levels of outsourced and expected outsourced activities, in 2021 alone, there was a significant increase in planned offshoring for all areas. An example of this can be seen in process development specifically, with 64.4% of developer respondents reported expected offshoring, up significantly from 34.9% in 2020, and the second-highest recorded amount in this area since collecting data (2019 levels were 69.1%). “Biomanufacturing operations” is another example where respondents report a significant increase in expected offshoring in the next five years, with 69.3% of respondents, up significantly from 34.9% in 2020, and the highest recorded amount in this area since collecting data. All other areas tracked for offshoring trends indicated record levels of expected offshoring. Offshoring continues to be an attractive option for companies looking to expand their reach outside their domestic markets, for those seeking second source manufacturing processes, and for other reasons.