Author Archives: Cheryl Scott

Regenerative Medicine

    The year 2011 may be seen as one in which regenerative medicine entered its adolescence. Public attention — from investors to desperate patients — finally turned toward this nascent industry with something other than skepticism or unrealistic expectations. The FDA’s approval of Dendreon’s Provenge cellular immunotherapy switched on the spotlight, and cell therapy companies suddenly faced a barrage of questions about cost, manufacturing issues, product development, and patient access. US Policy: In May 2011, US representatives Brian Bilbray…

Recovery and Purification

    Modern separation and purification engineers are hard tasked with handling concentrated feed streams, recalcitrant proteins, and new contaminant profiles coming from the use of serum-free culture media. With regulatory, public, and industry attention increasingly focused on the subject of viral safety, for example, a risk-based approach following an FDA quality systems initiative continues to build momentum. That regulatory perspective affects how recovery and purification unit operations are designed and conducted. Process modeling software is becoming increasingly sophisticated, so…

Formulation and Delivery

    Biopharmaceutical formulation and delivery are more than science; they also must take into account patient preferences and behavior, the biology of diseases being treated, and even the concerns of legal, sales, and marketing groups. But science is the foundation. Formulation work has become more methodical and quantifiable thanks to advancing analytical technologies — which brings quality by design (QbD) into formulation laboratories. The vast majority of biotherapeutics and vaccines are parenteral drugs — many of them lyophilized and…

Product Life-Cycle Planning

    Quality by design (QbD) has changed the biopharmaceutical industry’s approach to chemistry, manufacturing, and controls at its core. And that’s changing how companies plan for and execute the life cycle of their products. New candidates entering development especially benefit from strategies implemented from the start. The 2012 BioProcess International Conference and Exhibition devotes a track on Tuesday and Wednesday (9–10 October 2012) to examining those strategies in the dawning age of biosimilars: from regulatory approaches and analytical innovation…

A Decade of Processing

    About halfway through our first decade in publication, we became well acquainted with a new buzzword phrase in the biopharmaceutical industry: downstream bottleneck (1). This followed on the heels of a manufacturing capacity crunch that had been forecast shortly before BPI made its debut. Thanks to herculean efforts by upstream process and cell-line engineers, that crunch didn’t pan out. In its place, however, high-titer production moved the pressure downstream. Now separation and purification engineers were tasked with handling…

A Decade of Chromatography: A Powerful Technology Reasserts Itself

    Chromatographic separations are vital both to the analysis of biological macromolecules and to their manufacturing. When properly applied, chromatography provides exquisite specificity in separating different molecules from solution based on their size, electrical charge, or other physicochemical properties. Large liquid chromatographic (LC) columns remove host-cell nucleic acids, endotoxins, viruses, and process intermediates from harvest material. Combine high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) with mass spectrometric (MS) or ultraviolet–visible (UV–vis) spectroscopic detection, and you can qualify and quantify macromolecules in such…

A Decade of Filtration

    Filtration is just as vital to bioprocessing as chromatography — and arguably even more so. Filters are not only used as downstream unit operations in themselves, but also in support of nearly every other step in bioprocessing. Gas or liquid filters ensure the quality of incoming air and feeds for cell culture operations, clean the circulating media in perfusion processes, aid in harvest clarification, and remove buffers from chromatographic eluate after chromatography columns. They are used in formulation…

A Proactive Discussion of Synthetic Biology

    Experts in synthetic biology research, law, ethics, and social science from more than a dozen institutions gathered at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, DC, on 8–9 November 2010 to discuss “Societal Issues Arising from Synthetic Biology: What Lies Ahead.” The workshop was organized by the Department of Energy’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. After plenary presentations on the first day, almost 70 participants broke into groups to discuss potential…

A Decade of Process Development

    Our “manufacturing ” theme could be considered a sort of catch-all, encompassing much of what BioProcess International covers. You could argue that “the whole development process” is all about manufacturing biotherapeutics. But we instead consider this “pillar” of bioprocessing to include everything that isn’t strictly “upstream” (production) or “downstream” (processing) of biomolecules. Facility and supply-chain isssues come into play here, as do formulation and fill–finish (and of course, outsourcing). We discuss quality systems and their associated analytics in…

A Decade of Formulation

    Although no biopharmaceutical pills are yet on the horizon, formulation and delivery have advanced over the past 10 years. Formulators have new biophysical technologies and new product types (such as protein–drug conjugates) to work with. The most important issues haven’t changed much, though — from aggregation to stability, freezing to freeze-drying — although the FDA’s quality by design (QbD) initiative changes the strategies used to address them. Fragile proteins and other biologically sourced macromolecules need protection to achieve…