Author Archives: Maribel Rios

Flexible Vaccine Manufacturing: Collaborations Bringing Localized Solutions

The COVID-19 pandemic has become the most recent reminder of how accessibility to drugs and vaccines depends heavily on geographical location and a country’s economic health. Some countries continue to lack the infrastructure, regulatory support, and trained workforce necessary for establishing a viable bioindustry. Unizima, part of the Univercells Group, is a team of experts, scientists, and engineers that partners with public and private companies and other organizations to help build biomanufacturing capabilities in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We…

Developing Subunit Vaccines Based on an Amphiphile Platform

Subunit vaccines stimulate immune cells by delivering selected components of a pathogen of interest rather than the entire pathogen. Elicio Therapeutics is developing subunit vaccines that target a recipient’s lymph node to elicit a robust immune response. The vaccines are based on the company’s amphiphile (AMP) platform (Figure 1). The platform-based drug candidates are targeting cancer and COVID-19. Their development would allow the vaccine to be stored without the need for ultracold and cold storage. Below, we discuss the development…

Multimodal Facility Design for Cell and Gene Therapies

Cell and gene therapies (CGTs) are progressing rapidly through development pipelines and advancing through clinical trial phases. Manufacturing capacity will need to be sufficient when such products are approved for commercialization. Thus, biomanufacturers are seeking ways to leverage multimodal facilities. I spoke with Stephen Judd, who is principal process engineer for biologics and cell and gene therapy at DPS Group, an engineering and construction management consultancy. We talked about design considerations for multimodal facilities, how such facilities contribute to overall…

eBook: A Dynamic Control Strategy for Downstream Continuous Bioprocessing

Continuous processes can have many sources of variability. In downstream unit operations, changes can arise because of feed material variability, resin fouling in chromatography columns, column compression or failure, membrane fouling, depth-filter clogging, and so on. The US Food and Drug Administration’s guideline for continued process verification encourages biomanufacturers to monitor their processes and keep them under a steady state of control. One way to achieve that in continuous downstream processes is to implement a dynamic control system that adapts…

eBook: Intensifying Processes for Monoclonal Antibodies

The commercial manufacturing success of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) has become a touchstone of the biopharmaceutical industry. MAbs are so well established that they often are referred to as “traditional” biologics, and well-known MAb processing methods have become a model for processing of other “advanced” or “emerging” therapies. But MAb processing continues to advance as biomanufacturers seek ways to improve efficiencies, lower costs, and (most recently) increase sustainability of facilities. Drug makers are particularly interested in strategies for MAb process intensification.…

eBook: Cell and Gene Therapies — Optimization Strategies for Processing and Potency

Although relatively new to the biopharmaceutical industry, cell and gene therapy development and manufacturing are advancing rapidly. At Informa Connect’s September 2021 Cell & Gene Manufacturing & Commercialization Conference and Exhibition, held in Boston and online, presentations reviewed concerns that arise when processing complex therapies and highlighted some innovative strategies for surmounting those obstacles. Most of those approaches described during the event used data-driven solutions, with each step building on the information gained from the previous one. High-throughput technology platforms…

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…

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…

Optimization of Processes and Advanced Platforms for Viral Vector Processing

Viral vectors are synonymous with gene therapies, so their development, production, and processing are of upmost importance to all gene therapy researchers and manufacturers. Every year, I look forward to attending the Cell and Gene Bioprocessing and Commercialization conference in Boston and talking to leaders in industry and academia about their current approaches to advancing gene therapies. Like most other meetings this year, the conference was entirely online and had to provide a shortened agenda. Nonetheless, there was no shortage…

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…