In this blog, we will look back at the events of 2021, exploring the trends and innovations that have driven the resins space forward over the last year, and ask how these will shape developments in 2022.

The specialty resins industry has enjoyed an impressive performance this year – particularly those businesses that support biopharma companies with ion exchange resins and polymeric adsorbents for their own drug development and manufacture. The international resins market is on track to grow from $6.73 billion in 2020 to $7.07 billion by the end of 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5%1.

This growth in the specialty resins segment over the last 12 months has been driven by a number of factors, and has required innovation on the part of resin suppliers to meet changing biopharmaceutical demand. At Purolite, we know that innovation starts with you, and we have responded to changing demands from you, our customers, to support your continued success.

Here are the key trends that have shaped the industry over the last year, and how we have evolved to meet them.

High market demand for resins

The global pharmaceutical industry has been a key driver of growth in the resins segment this year, as more drug developers than ever before have sought out industry-leading resin technology. In fact, the pharma market is expected to be worth $1.25 trillion by the end of 2021. 

The unprecedented global response to the COVID-19 pandemic is behind this market growth. This gargantuan effort to vaccinate the global population has seen a sustained spike in demand for high-quality resins to tackle a range of challenges, from creating active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), to purifying virus material for vaccines, to acting as excipients in drug formulations.

At Purolite, we are committed to harnessing our 40 years of experience to support our customers in delivering 

much-needed vaccines, pushing the boundaries of resin bead innovation to do so.

“By leveraging the decades of experience we have, we are looking to deliver the next generation of technologies for the biopharma industry” Chris Major, General Manager, Purolite.

As we move into 2022, we expect demand for resins for the global vaccine production drive to remain robust, thanks to the need for booster vaccines to tackle new COVID-19 variants. This will drive innovation in the resin sector, as we see suppliers striving to develop best-in-class resin products that better meet customers’ vaccine development and manufacturing needs.

New drug technologies emerging

2021 saw the authorization of two monoclonal antibody (mAbs) immunotherapies for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)23 to treat COVID-19 symptoms in patients hospitalized by the disease. Both treatments received full approval by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)4 this year. The US has now seen a major milestone reached with 200 first approvals for mAbs in 20215.  

There has been an increase in demand from biopharma companies for bioprocessing technologies to support this expanding and specialist development area. Resin specialists have stepped up to meet the challenge by offering customer-focused innovation that meets this sector’s unique needs.

At Purolite, we understand that the bioprocessing industry requires novel resin solutions that can optimize performance while reducing the cost of manufacturing.

“We have a laser-precision focus on the bioprocessing sector, developing our resin technology to support innovation in mABs, cell & gene therapies and personalized medicines.” Chris Major

One example of the work we have done to deliver this goal for customers is the development of game-changing jetting technology, a patented, continuous manufacturing process for producing chromatographic resin beads. This is a greener alternative to traditional bioprocessing techniques and also provides a uniform particle size for a more consistent chromatographic process that boosts mAbs manufacturing efficiency.

In 2022, we look forward to working with drug developers to harness this technology and enhance mAbs production, ensuring this innovative treatment avenue can benefit even more patients.

Globalization and diversification of resins supply

The supply chain disruptions caused by the first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 led many pharma companies to rethink their supply chains, leading to flux within the resins sector. Drug developers began to move away from over-reliance on raw materials from any one single region, diversifying their networks to include multiple partners from across a range of markets, mitigating against the risk of local disruption causing delays in supplies. The team at Purolite is committed to being agile and responsive to these concerns.

“We focus our investment to allow us to be faster and quicker at delivering for customers than anyone else in the market. This allows to us to turn our hand to new technologies quickly, so we can support our customers’ changing requirements immediately.” 

For example, suppliers with a global footprint, and able to demonstrate that they have a reliable supply chain, have a distinct advantage attracting new customers looking to mitigate against future disruption. At Purolite, our planned dual-continent expansion streamlines our supply to market, supporting pharma companies in optimizing the security of their supply chain.

In 2022, we can expect pharma companies to continue to be discerning with their supply networks. Suppliers that can demonstrate an agile approach to addressing these supply chain reliability concerns will continue to thrive. The team at Purolite is committed to being agile and responsive to these concerns. At Purolite we are already working with our customers to fully understand their pain points to provide the best supply solutions.

Fit to face 2022 with the support of a specialist partner

As a resins specialist with a long heritage of innovation, Purolite is ready to respond to these market changes and new customer demands. We are constantly developing our resin products to provide new solutions to tackle a diverse array of pharmaceutical manufacturing challenges.

We look forward to working with you, our customers, to understand how else we can support further advancements in pharmaceutical technology in 2022.