What are biologics?

Biologics are created by genetically engineering living cells to generate required proteins versus traditional chemical synthesis (i.e., small molecule drugs). This process makes biologics notably larger than chemically synthesized drugs (200-1,000 times larger)—hence the term large molecule therapeutics. Biologics are structurally more complex and extremely sensitive to even slight changes in production or handling conditions can alter their nature, efficacy and safety. Biopharmaceuticals are administered by injection or infusion. If taken orally, they would be digested in the stomach and intestines, rendering them ineffective. Examples of biologic medicines include Humira® (AbbVie Pharmaceuticals), Enbrel® (Amgen), Rubraca® (Clovis Oncology) and Taltz® (Eli Lilly & Company).