Author Archives: Brian Gazaille

eBook: CAR-T Cell Therapy — Mitigating Clinical and Bioprocess Limitations

Developers of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies are working in a state of tempered optimism. As of September 2021, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved only five such products, two coming this year. Now that those approved products have demonstrated the viability of CAR-based immunotherapies, drug developers are trying to address significant limitations that have come to light with increases in available clinical data and bioprocess knowledge. One shortcoming concerns therapeutic efficacy. Blood cancer patients who have…

eBook: Process-Related Impurities — Emerging Strategies for Detection, Identification, and Management of Host-Cell Proteins

Host-cell proteins (HCPs) represent a major class of process-related impurities (PRIs) that are generated during biopharmaceutical manufacture. Although the vast majority of such proteins are removed from a drug substance during downstream purification, residual HCPs can remain in a finished drug product. Even in minimal concentrations, copurifying HCPs can pose safety risks and compromise protein-product yield, efficacy, and stability. Thus, regulatory agencies consider the presence of HCPs to be a critical quality attribute (CQA). Sufficient clearance of these impurities helps…

Mesenchymal Stromal Stem Cells: Next Steps and Considerations for CGMP Manufacturing

Massimo Dominici is scientific founder of Rigenerand srl, a joint venture between RanD (a biomedical company producing bioreactors for liver support and chemohyperthermic technology for cancer) and experts in cell and gene therapy at the University of Modena and Emilia Region in Italy. Rigenerand develops and manufactures medicinal products for cell-therapy applications (primarily for regenerative medicine and oncology) and three-dimensional (3D) bioreactors as an alternative to animal testing for preclinical investigations. The company also produces its own pipeline of cell…

Raw Materials for Advanced Therapies: When the Process Is the Product, Ingredients Are Key

Scott Burger and Bill Janssen are both established, independent consultants specializing in gene and cell therapies. This past spring, we three discussed several aspects of raw material strategy for advanced therapies as well as the need for trained technicians in the industry. With a bachelor of science degree in biology from Tulane University (New Orleans, LA, 1983) and a medical doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA, 1988), Scott Burger served his residency training and fellowship at Washington University…

Toward the Point of Care: Flexibility and Decentralization Are Key to Making Autologous Therapies More Readily Available

Part of the advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) class of therapeutics, cell and gene therapies (CGTs) can be either autologous, using the patient’s own cells, or allogeneic, using master banked donor cells. Global biotechnology company Orgenesis focuses on autologous therapies, with processes and systems developed for closed and automated processing that have been validated for regulatory-compliant production at the point of care for patient treatment. This technology could help overcome the limitations of traditionally cost-prohibitive CGT manufacturing methods that do…

Cell Banking in the Spotlight: Advising Biologics Developers About Cell Bank Preparation and Characterization

Living cells are at the heart of biotechnology, and cell lines for production and testing of biopharmaceuticals are highly valuable assets. The process of banking cells generally moves from development of a research cell bank (RCB) based on a clone of interest to establishment of a master cell bank (MCB), from which working cell banks (WCBs) can be produced. Especially for biotechnology startups, preparation of an MCB can involve a significant jump from work performed in standard laboratory conditions to…

eBook: mRNA — Revisiting a Technology That Has Rocketed into Success

At the end of 2018, BPI published its first eBook about mRNA drug products — and quite a lot has happened since then! Our initial report highlighted companies working on mRNA therapeutics for cystic fibrosis, heart disease, and cancer, as well as vaccines. The latter approach took off in 2020 with the advent of SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 pandemic, and in a stunningly short time, the biopharmaceutical industry has learned much about manufacture, formulation, product design, and distribution of mRNA…

Preparing for Process Improvements: Discussions of the Cell Therapy Industry’s Supply Chain, Automation, and Control Needs

As editors, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to listen to biopharmaceutical developers and innovators discuss the intricacies of their work. Typically, we find that the best discussions come from asking two fundamental questions: What need did you observe in the industry that drove your work, and what technologies would help you do your job better? Over the past five years or so, the answers have shifted. Cell and gene therapy (CGT) innovators are focusing on increasingly complex diseases…

March 2021: From the Editor

In my short time as BPI’s resident novice, I have been impressed with this industry’s interdisciplinarity and collaborative spirit. Executives tell me that biopharmaceutical companies have not always been so multifaceted in their expertise or so willing to forge partnerships across organizations and over the industry–academia divide. I am lucky to have started working with you when I did late in 2019. That is not to regard the biopharmaceutical industry with rose-tinted glasses. Many elements of biomanufacturing remain closely guarded…

Exciting Starts for New Players and Platforms: Nucleic-Acid Vaccines Prepare for Their Commercial Debut

Although vaccine platforms based on messenger RNA (mRNA) are enjoying the limelight in the wake of emergency authorizations of products from Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna, DNA vaccines are poised to make their own commercial debuts soon. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that six of the 48 candidate vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 that remain in clinical trials are DNA-based products, as are 14 others in preclinical study (1). I spoke with Hong Jiang (cofounder and chief operating officer of Aegis Life, Inc.)…