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Red Biotechnology Applications in Pharmaceutical Uses

written by: •edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski•updated: 6/30/2008

Creating biopharmaceuticals or “red" biotechnology applications is a long and expensive process that occurs in order to introduce a new drug into the market.

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    There are numerous applications of biotechnology: it has been a part of the agricultural industry for quite some time. In addition to the agricultural uses, biotechnology has also been making waves in the pharmaceutical industry. When you hear the term red biotechnology applications, you may not know what it is referring to, but in the medical industry it refers to Biopharmaceutical, which is defined as medical drugs that are produced by applying methods of biotechnology.

    Some of the biopharmaceuticals that are produced through the use of biotechnology include antibodies, nucleic acids, proteins, DNA and RNA. These are all used for in-vivo therapeutic or diagnostic purposes. They are different than other pharmaceuticals because they are developed using methods of biotechnology rather than direct extraction.

    The first biopharmaceutical that was approved for use is actually insulin. Insulin was created using recombinant technology with DNA. Since the inception of insulin being released and used in the medical community, there have been continuous strides in the field of biopharmaceuticals. Most of these are derived from forms of living organisms.

    Once a biopharmaceutical is created and approved for use, it typically goes through the process of being patented to give it exclusive rights for manufacturing and production. Because of the high cost usually associated with using biotechnology methods in creating biopharmaceuticals, it is important to the creator of the new drug to be able to maintain rights to it to help absorb a portion of the cost it took in the stages of development.

    There is very strict control over the distribution and commercial use of biopharmaceuticals in the United States and the FDA strictly enforces codes and rules when it comes to how and when they are to be distributed.  The process of releasing a biopharmaceutical into the public spectrum can take up to a few years. This is because companies have to do rigorous testing and trials on subjects introducing the pharmaceuticals and make sure that they are safe and effective to be released to the public. It can take millions of dollars to get a biopharmaceutical in the doctor’s office or on the shelves after the drug was first discovered. Because of this, it often can take a long time to financially see a return after the drug is released into the market.

    Biotechnology applications have made and continue to make a big improvement in the process and distribution of pharmaceuticals into the medical community.