Innovating manufacturing technology in emerging economies

To the editor — Most US- and European-based drug makers that produce biosimilar products use decades-old processes for manufacturing. Although there is no business incentive for Western manufacturers to innovate in downstream processes, the situation is very different in emerging economies. Here, we highlight two Indian companies — Biocon and Enzene Biosciences (of Alkem Laboratories) — that have boosted their competitiveness in local markets by investing in process innovation in manufacturing, enabling a reduction in costs without compromising product safety and quality. We propose that their approach could be adopted on a wider scale by other companies in emerging economies, especially where there are several market entrants seeking to gain a competitive edge. Moreover, as emerging economies continue to grow, we believe that investment in process-side innovation can provide firms in emerging economies with a competitive edge over larger counterparts in developed economies.