Science Cafe: Biopharmaceuticals: Not Your Parents' Medicine
At one time or another in our lives, we have all taken medicine. Tylenol®, Lipitor®, and Sudafed® are among the most familiar. These medicines, referred to as pharmaceuticals, are usually made synthetically, by chemical reaction. But today, many of the most effective and best-selling medicines are not made by chemists. Instead, biopharmaceuticals are produced using biological systems — that is, with materials from the animal, plant, and bacteria kingdoms — and involve relatively complex processes. For example, cells from the ovaries of Chinese hamsters are commonly used to produce some of the biggest-selling medicines in the world, including Humira®, used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, and Avastin®, used in the treatment of various cancers. Join this discussion on what biopharmaceuticals are, how they are made, and why they are important to our local economy.
About our Speaker
Dr. Gary Gilleskie is the Director of Operations and a Teaching Associate Professor at the Golden LEAF Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC) at North Carolina State University (NCSU). He is responsible for the daily operations of the BTEC facility, which includes a one-of-a-kind manufacturing facility dedicated to training and education in the area of biopharmaceutical production. He is also actively involved in developing and teaching courses in biopharmaceutical process development and manufacturing for NCSU students and industry professionals. Prior to joining BTEC, Dr. Gilleskie spent a number of years in industry, involved in the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals for clinical trials and commercial distribution.