Research and development provides the foundation for discovering beneficial new medicines and therapies and the process begins with basic research about biological and chemical processes. Bio-pharmaceuticals are manufactured by biotechnology methods, with the products having biological sources, usually involving live organisms or their active components. The methods and techniques involve the use of living organisms such as cells, bacteria, yeast and others.

In 2012, biopharmaceutical companies invested more than $48.5 billion in the discovery and development of medicines globally. The biopharmaceutical pipeline has over 5,000 new medicines currently in development around the world. According to another data source, approximately 3,400 compounds are currently being studied in the United States—more than in any other region around the world. One of the biggest challenges faced by the innovative biopharma industry today is biosimilars which are generic copies of the original molecule. Unlike the molecules for medicines, biologic products are not only harder to replicate, there is also a scientific risk involved and should be addressed by authorities in the shape of expert guidelines.

Biotechnology is delivering significant advances in human healthcare and entirely new medicines are being created, notably for rare or previously untreated diseases.