Author Archives: Cheryl Scott

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…

April 2021: From the Editor

I write this the day after US President Joe Biden’s address reporting his administration’s progress on COVID-19. Vaccines and their distribution and delivery are priorities, of course, and the companies working on them over the past year deservedly have received a great deal of attention. But our pandemic response rests on three other important pillars as well: prevention of exposure through masking and social distancing (as the President reminded us), testing and tracing with diagnostics and data, and treatment of…

Introduction: Technologies Converge in Biopharmaceutical Laboratories

Bioassay development is foundational to the well-characterized biotechnology product paradigm. Bioassays are the best tools for drug developers to use in determining the biological activity (potency) of their products, which has been a biopharmaceutical critical quality attribute (CQA) since long before that concept had a name. Thus, these assays are vital to quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC), preclinical studies, and clinical testing — and by extension to process development and monitoring. Because of their complex nature, bioassays are among…

Automation of Potency Assays: A Strategic Journey

Cell-based potency testing provides quantitative data concerning a drug’s biological activity. Thus, it plays an essential role in biopharmaceutical quality control (QC), good manufacturing practice (GMP) product release, comparability determination, and stability testing for both drug products and drug substances. Potency is a critical quality attribute (CQA) often scrutinized by regulators and reviewers. Test methods are specific to a drug’s mechanism of action (MoA) and should be validated to internationally harmonized regulatory standards (1). The options preclude applying a simple…

HCP Assay Development: Managing Risks with Evolving Technologies

Host-cell proteins (HCPs) are major impurities of concern in biomanufacturing. When present in drug formulations, they can reduce efficacy (by compromising product stability), introduce toxicity, and increase a recipient’s risk for long-term immunogenicity. Understanding HCP profiles and integrating effective removal strategies are important parts of developing new biological drugs — to fulfill regulatory guidelines and to ensure patient safety through product quality. HCP populations can be both complex and structurally diverse, and some changes in upstream culture conditions can affect…

Stability Testing: Monitoring Biological Product Quality Over Time

Many physical and chemical factors can affect the quality, safety, and efficacy of biopharmaceutical products, particularly after long-term storage in a container–closure system that can be subject to variations in temperature and light, as well as agitation with shipping and handling. Proteins are inherently complex physiochemically, from their primary amino acid sequences to their higher-order structures, and they require specific conditions to maintain their integrity and functionality. Advanced biological therapies can be even more complicated and particular about their environments.…

eBook: Formulation, Fill–Finish — Biopharmaceutical Drug-Product Trends and Technologies

As with many other aspects of biopharmaceutical development, evolving technologies are transforming drug-product development and manufacturing. In a November 2020 report on the Informa Connect “Drug Delivery Partnerships” meeting, BPI senior technical editor Cheryl Scott reviewed how new delivery-device technologies are bringing together companies with disparate expertise to serve patients with chronic conditions better than ever before. The ever-increasing capabilities of electronics and information technology (IT) not only are enabling development of “smart” delivery devices, but also improving the potential…

eBook: Ion-Exchange Chromatography for Modern Biopharmaceutical Purification

Understanding the functionalities of chromatography resins can improve the product yield and purity in a biotherapeutic purification workflow. Ion-exchange (IEX) chromatography separates biomolecules on the basis of charge. For several reasons, it is the most widely used separation tool for purification of biopharmaceutical products. IEX is a well-characterized purification method with high binding capacity and flexible selectivity. It also works with mild operating conditions that help to preserve the biological activity of a biopharmaceutical drug substance. That versatility enables several…

November–December 2020:
From the Editors

As 2020 draws to a close, we can’t help looking back at this year in which the biopharmaceutical industry has received more attention than ever before — scientifically, politically, and otherwise. We editors always have been conscious of (and pretty good at) separating our work and home lives. As many of you have learned this year, that’s an important part of working from home, which we’ve been doing for over a decade. But in recent months, reading the news and…

Analytical Support for Biologics: A Conversation with Almac Sciences

Almac Sciences (a member of the Almac Group) recently expanded its suite of analytical solutions to include biologics testing. This follows a 2019 expansion of the company’s facility in Athlone, Ireland, where it provides a comprehensive range of flexible pharmaceutical testing services to support drug development programs adhering to industry regulations and good manufacturing practice (GMP) standards. “Biologics have gained huge traction in the past decade and are poised for stronger growth in the coming years with potential to significantly…