Author Archives: Cheryl Scott

A Decade of Characterization

    Over the past 10 years, the biopharmaceutical industry has placed increasing pressure on analytical laboratories, whose work is more important to the success of biotherapeutic products than ever before. Nearly concomitant with the appearance of BPI on the scene, the US Food and Drug Administration put forth its final report on the 21st century good manufacturing practice initiative, which in changing how regulators would review product applications, changed how companies must approach them (1). The guiding principles —…

A Decade of Product Development

    In 2004, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) transferred regulation of many highly purified, “well-characterized” biopharmaceutical proteins from the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) to the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), which until then had primarily regulated only synthetic, small-molecule drugs and chemical substances. The most novel/complex and the less-characterized biologics remained within CBER’s jurisdiction. This change complicated BPI’s mission somewhat. When the magazine was founded, we responded to questions from advertisers…

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…

Videos Can Help Ensure Reproducibility of Scientific Results

Biological experiments must be performed correctly. A textual method description doesn’t always capture the myriad techniques involved in even a fairly simple study. So the inability of researchers to reproduce published results is becoming a problem. And it is being addressed by video methods that show exactly how scientific results are achieved, helping future researchers learn new techniques and replicate scientific results. The ability to reproduce and confirm a study’s results and conclusions is a foundation of scientific research. And…

Ten Years of Manufacturing

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 this context, as…

Ten Years of Downstream 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 concentrated…

Ten Years of Upstream Production

Disposables: 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 Wave bioreactor (1,2), first developed by Wave Biotech in 1996, now a mainstay of many an upstream process development laboratory 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…

Sustainability in Bioprocessing

    The concept of sustainability has evolved over the past few decades to describe conditions for harmonious coexistence of industry and nature while meeting socioeconomic requirements of present and future generations. For this environmentally focused report, I like the simple definition offered by Armstrong International, a provider of steam, air, and hot water systems that improve utility performance, lower energy consumption, and reduce environmental emissions. According to a brochure that in part describes its work with Pfizer, Armstrong defines…

Product Life-Cycle Management

    Even before the advent of biosimilar products, biopharmaceutical products faced life-cycle concerns. The discovery–development–licensure process is just the beginning. Drug sponsors hope each new product will enjoy decades of relevance and generate millions of dollars in sales. But “me-too” products will come along, process technologies will change, and patents will expire. Even product innovators have to think about comparablity. Out-of specification results can signal problems that have their roots in raw material choices and sources, equipment deviations, analytical…

Cell Culture

After over three decades of progress, cell culture bioprocesses in the biopharmaceutical industry continue to evolve. From early laboratory culture methods to vaccine production in the mid-20th century, the first biopharmaceutical companies had a century of basic understanding to build on when they developed the first recombinant expression systems. Since those first efforts in the 1980s, a succession of cell culture biologists and engineers have improved processes using a series of products that have been increasingly specified for their use.…