Tuesday, May 1, 2012 Daily Archives

Biobanking Basics

    With increasing large-scale “-omic” and clinical studies, the value and need for large and small biobanks or biorepositories has grown exponentially. Many organizations are processing and storing hundreds, thousands, even millions of biosamples. Those samples are collected from a number of sources, however, and put to end uses that are not always anticipated at collection. Consistent standards thus must be established to collect and store samples. Everyone involved must work toward a common goal of high-quality, consistent, reliable,…

Approaches to Debottlenecking and Process Optimization

    Two major challenges associated with optimizing biomanufacturing operations remain unresolved. The first is variability: how to understand and improve manufacturing with significant variation in process times throughout all unit operations. The second is complexity: modern biomanufacturing facilities are complex and interconnected, with piping segments, transfer panels, and valve arrays, as well as water for injection (WFI) and other shared resource constraints. That complexity is becoming even greater with the need for process standardization and processing of higher (and…

Large-Scale, Insect-Cell–Based Vaccine Development

    Vaccines are among biotechnological products characterized by continuous growth over the past decade. According to a 2011 report, the global vaccine market is expected to reach US$34 billion in sales by 2013 (1). Much development can be ascribed to vaccine treatments for cancer, autoimmune, and infectious diseases (which have risen significantly) as well as the growing worldwide population and emergence of new pandemics. Although to date the main health impact of vaccines is still in disease prevention, the…

Designing the Ideal Bioreactor with Single-Use Technology

    Bioprocessing companies are hoping for a brighter future in biologics manufacturing that will include ever-higher titers of vaccines and therapeutic proteins grown in cell culture. It would also facilitate bioprocess operations without the recurring challenges that stem from process scale-up and human error. Moreover, that future would also comply with increasingly stringent regulatory and current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) requirements while providing better cost controls than we see today. How far away is this future? Perhaps not too…

Fight Cancer with Nanotechnology

    Imagine a diagnostic test that sifts through millions of molecules in one drop of a patient’s blood to detect the tell-tale protein signature of a cancer subtype. Envision a drug “ferry” that doesn’t release its cytotoxic contents until it slips inside cancer cells — or a molecule or small panel of proteins that can reveal within days whether a cancer treatment is working. Bioprocess Applications of Nanoparticles ()   Researchers have created nanosized particles and devices that are…

Implementing Custom Single-Use Solutions for Cell Therapy Production

Cellular therapy continues to expand and gain momentum, as evidenced by the growing number of companies and clinical trials in the field each year. Early potential therapies were developed solely by investigators without communication or input from manufacturing experts. That communication gap led to numerous setbacks as potential products were developed without roadmaps for feasible manufacturing scale-up (or scale-out). Contributions from members of the cell therapy community over the past few years have significantly improved the situation in the form…

Expansion of the Prior-User Rights Defense

A common reaction to some patents directed to manufacturing processes (especially of biotherapeutics) is “How did they get a patent for that when we’ve been doing the same thing for years?” But the number of patents covering biotherapeutic production processes is steadily increasing along with the realization that upstream and downstream processing events provide a potentially abundant source of so-called “second-generation” patent protection for biologics, especially those facing biosimilar competition. Although some groups are prolific patent filers claiming a wide…

Single-Use Technology Supports Follow-On Biologics

    Follow-on biologics (FOBs, or biosimilars) differ from generic small-molecule compounds and pioneer biopharmaceuticals in several ways. Those differences affect aspects of their regulatory approval pathway, analytics, and marketing (1). Many biological active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) are actually incompletely characterized dynamic mixtures of macromolecules with slightly different primary compositions or higher-order structure (microheterogeneity). Those properties of macromolecules (unlike small molecules) are greatly influenced by their individual manufacturing process. Emerging regulatory guidelines for follow-on biologics are clarifying aspects of their…

The Maturation of Single-Use Applications

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” —Albert Einstein     Single-use systems (SUSs) have been treated as novel technologies for some time. I have spent much of the past 10 years introducing clients to SUSs and integrating them into conventional processes. They are part of the biopharmaceutical development and production landscape and a mature, integrated option for bioprocessing. The value of SUS integration is soundly substantiated: reduced cross-contamination risk…

Outlooks on Standardization

    The Friday workshop of the 2011 BPI Conference in November may have been titled “Industrialization of Single-Use Manufacturing Technologies,” but in the discussion afterward, the mainly end-user audience zeroed in on an on-going debate in single-use implementation: standardization. Comments and questions echoed the current opinions, most of which were well known to the all-supplier panel and others present. To follow up on this discussion, I spoke with members of that panel because — as one expert put it…