Hormones, Blood Products, and Therapeutic Enzymes

  • Ana Catarina SilvaEmail author
  • Cládia Pina Costa
  • Hugo Almeida
  • João Nuno Moreira
  • José Manuel Sousa Lobo
Part of the Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology book series (ABE, volume 171)


Therapeutic uses of biological medicines are diverse and include active substances from different classes. This chapter provides an overview on the clinical applications of biological medicines containing hormones, blood products, and therapeutic enzymes. Currently, therapeutic hormones have 78 approved medicines, including insulin and analogs, glucagon and analogs, growth hormone, gonadotropins (follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, and human chorionic gonadotropin), thyroid-stimulating hormone, and parathyroid hormone. In contrast, recombinant blood products, and particularly blood factors, anticoagulants, and thrombolytic agents, incorporate 49 approved biological medicines. Regarding recombinant therapeutic enzymes, there are 22 approved medicines. Among the referred biological medicines, there are six biosimilar hormones, and no biosimilars have been approved for recombinant blood products and therapeutic enzymes, which is unexpected.

Current investigations on recombinant hormones, recombinant blood products, and therapeutic enzymes seem to follow the same directions, searching for alternative non-injectable administration routes, development of new recombinant molecules with improved pharmacokinetic properties and discovering new clinical applications for approved medicines. These approaches are showing positive results and new medicines are expected to reach clinical approval in the coming years. Future prospects also include the approval of more biosimilar medicines.

Graphical Abstract


Anticoagulants Blood factors Glucagon Gonadotropins Growth hormone Insulin Therapeutic enzymes Thrombolytic agents 



This work was supported by the Applied Molecular Biosciences Unit-UCIBIO and FP-ENAS, which are financed by national funds from FCT/MCTES (UID/Multi/04378/2019 and UID/Multi/04546/2019, respectively).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Catarina Silva
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Cládia Pina Costa
    • 1
  • Hugo Almeida
    • 1
  • João Nuno Moreira
    • 3
    • 4
  • José Manuel Sousa Lobo
    • 1
  1. 1.UCIBIO, REQUIMTE, MEDTECH, Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Technology, Department of Drug Sciences, Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.FP-ENAS (UFP Energy, Environment and Health Research Unit), CEBIMED (Biomedical Research Centre), Faculty of Health SciencesFernando Pessoa UniversityPortoPortugal
  3. 3.CNC – Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, Faculty of Medicine (Pólo I)University of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  4. 4.FFUC – Faculty of Pharmacy, Pólo das Ciências da Saúde, CoimbraUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal

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