Friday, June 1, 2012 Daily Archives

A Decade of Outsourcing

    Outsourcing has been such an integral part of the bioprocessing industry that BPI made it the focus of its first supplement (September 2003). Since then, manufacturers continue to reach beyond local and national borders to extend their networks of partnerships to emerging markets. Global economics during the past decade have not always made outsourcing easy. Ten years ago, manufacturers faced tough decisions over whether it was more cost effective to outsource or keep process activities in-house (possibly expand…

Implementing a Fully Disposable MAb Manufacturing Facility

    Biopharmaceutical contract services have seen some very important changes and growth in recent years, part of an increasing trend toward outsourcing by pharmaceutical companies both large and small. And we have seen a significant change in the types of services demanded by clients. In addition to typical services such as validation, analytical services, and training, for example, demand has increased for outsourcing of process development, mammalian cell culture, good manufacturing practice (GMP) production, and final formulation and filling.…

A Decade of Microbial Fermentation

Microorganisms play a vital role in modern life — with applications ranging from wine fermentation to biofuel production to solutions for complex mathematical problems (1). During the past decade, microbial fermentation for protein production reached a higher level of sophistication and wider adoption. When BPI was first published in 2003, the physical and biological characteristics of many microbial cells and the attributes of their fermentation processes were well known. Nonetheless, the economic environment at that time created immense pressure on…

Vertical Integration of Disposables in Biopharmaceutical Drug Substance Manufacturing

    Single-use (disposable) technologies are gaining significant traction in biopharmaceutical manufacturing due to reductions in capital investment for plant construction, lower requirements for cleaning and sterilization, and the advantages of eliminating cross-contamination during multiproduct manufacturing (1,2,3,4). In the early days of disposables, single-use (SU) systems were used only in specific unit operations (5, 6). Recently, however, options have become more widely available throughout drug-substance manufacturing (7,8,9,10). Companies now focus on selecting the right SU technology from an array of…

A Decade of Bioreactor and Upstream Technologies

A high-quality product begins with efficient upstream process equipment. Ten years ago, manufacturers were still warming up to single-use bioreactors, which were mainly rocking-bag–based solutions. The benefits relating to cleaning and validation were clear, but their use as bioreactor vessels was still new, and stainless steel systems up to 20,000 L in scale were still needed. Today’s facilities are a hybrid of sophisticated single-use components and stainless steel equipment, the mechanisms of both having undergone improvement during the past decade.…

Bioreactor Design and Bioprocess Controls for Industrialized Cell Processing

It’s official: The “Age of Cell Therapy” has arrived. A robust pipeline of cell therapies, with increasing numbers of both early- and late-stage clinical trials as well as FDA-approved commercial products that have entered the market already, strongly indicates that the cell therapy industry is poised to emerge as a distinct healthcare sector (1). Renewed investor interest and recent activity among major pharmaceutical companies suggest that this industry will rapidly develop the capability and capacity to be a highly competitive,…

A Decade of Production

Single-use technology has arguably been the biggest “story” of the past 10 years in bioprocessing. And for many people, implementation of disposable elements began soon after the turn of the century with a bioreactor (1, 2), first developed by Wave Biotech in 1996, now a mainstay of many upstream process development laboratories and sold by GE Healthcare. BPI identified the significance of such technologies early on, making them the subject of a supplement in its second year. By the fourth…

Spotting, Tracking, and Predicting Inspection Trends

    Compliant companies, to paraphrase Tolstoy, are all alike. Every noncompliant company seems to find its own way to fall short of compliance with good manufacturing practice (GMP) and come, as did the writer’s famous heroine Anna Karenina, to grief. One commonality of compliant firms is that most seem to have excellent self-auditing/self-inspection programs. Indeed, many inspectors say that a primary predictor of a compliant company is a rigorous self-inspection program. Such a program is appropriately focused, adequately resourced,…

From the Publisher and Editor

      At about this time of the year, 10 years ago, the four founders of BioProcess International were in arguably the most creative period of their lives. By the middle of 2002, we began designing our collaborative production and operating processes with our new Informa colleagues (then Eaton Publishing). We were assembling author and advertising contacts pretty much from scratch, trading opinions about page designs, building a manuscript pipeline, choosing fonts (something those outside of publishing might not…

Looking at the Recent FDA Biosimilar Guidelines

Small-molecule treatments are invaluable in providing symptomatic benefits for an array of illnesses. However, many serious conditions — ranging from cancer to autoimmune disorders — respond better to more sophisticated complex drugs such as therapeutic biologics and nonbiologic complex drugs (NBCDs). The latter are medicinal, nonbiological products in which the active substance is not a homomolecular structure, but rather consists of a number of different (closely related) structures that cannot be fully characterized. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)…