The term biological medicine refers to a product containing materials produced by the healthy organism; normally proteins, such as hormones and growth factors. Using gene technology, biological medicines can be produced in bacteria, yeasts or cells of mammals or insects.
Compared with conventional chemical pharmaceutical substances, biological pharmaceutical substances are very large and complex molecules. Due to the complexity of their structure and production method, there may be natural variation between the various production batches of biological medicines.
The essential difference between the conventional synthetized medicines and biological medicines is that the biological medicines have a determined impact on a particular structure of the organism. An ideal biological medicine thus only impacts a certain structure, meaning that it is a precision medicine. This makes it possible to reduce the non-desirable effects on the entire body.
Formerly, biological medicines were developed mostly for rare diseases only but today more and more for general diseases, such as diabetes, rheumatic diseases, infective bowel diseases, asthma and cancer. Among the medicines currently in development, already 50% are biological products.