Author Archives: Maribel Rios

A Decade of Microbial Fermentation

Microorganisms play a vital role in modern life — with applications ranging from wine fermentation to biofuel production to solutions for complex mathematical problems (1). During the past decade, microbial fermentation for protein production reached a higher level of sophistication and wider adoption. When BPI was first published in 2003, the physical and biological characteristics of many microbial cells and the attributes of their fermentation processes were well known. Nonetheless, the economic environment at that time created immense pressure on…

A Decade of Harvesting Methods

    The preliminary separation of a protein of interest from a reactor “soup” of process impurities (e.g., cell debris, colloids, lipids) is the first step in a downstream process. It is also a primary step that introduces a significant risk of product degradation, bioburden concerns, or process errors, especially if a harvest method is not a good “fit” with a newly designed bioreactor (e.g., single-use) or fermentation vessel. In 2003, BPI’s first year, industry concerns revolved around potential capacity…

A Decade of Fill–Finish and Packaging Solutions

    In 2003, BPI’s first year of publication, the Food and Drug Administration released a draft of its updated guidelines on aseptic processing. In it, the agency included the statement, “A well-designed positive pressure isolator, supported by adequate procedures for its maintenance, monitoring, and control offers tangible advantages over classical aseptic processing, including fewer opportunities for microbial contamination during processing” (1).That kind of statement, seemingly approving one technology over another, was unprecedented in an FDA guidance and perhaps an…

Outlooks on Standardization

    The Friday workshop of the 2011 BPI Conference in November may have been titled “Industrialization of Single-Use Manufacturing Technologies,” but in the discussion afterward, the mainly end-user audience zeroed in on an on-going debate in single-use implementation: standardization. Comments and questions echoed the current opinions, most of which were well known to the all-supplier panel and others present. To follow up on this discussion, I spoke with members of that panel because — as one expert put it…

Ten Years of Microbial Fermentation

Microorganisms play a vital role in modern life — with applications ranging from wine fermentation to biofuel production to solutions for complex mathematical problems (1). During the past decade, microbial fermentation for protein production reached a higher level of sophistication and wider adoption. When BPI was first published in 2003, the physical and biological characteristics of many microbial cells and the attributes of their fermentation processes were well known. Nonetheless, the economic environment at that time created immense pressure on…

Success Stories from the Asia–Pacific

The Asia–Pacific region is a vast geographic area with a loose definition — covering East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. It includes a variety of cultures and races and is home to both developed and developing countries. Depending on the definitions of the region, the gross domestic product (GDP) varies from $500 per capita in East Timor to $41,500 in Australia, and the populations climb from a mere 55,500 in Australian Samoa to a vast 1.3 billion in China (1).…

Clinical Development of Biosimilars

    Biosimilars require comparative studies that are different from the typical placebo-control clinical trials for first-generation proteins. A typical clinical trial programs must show equivalence of a biosimilar to the originator protein. Hans-Peter Guler, senior vice president of clinical development at INC Research, recently discussed with me the primary objectives and approaches to conducting an equivalence design.   By contrast with trials for originator proteins, equivalence trials require a different statistical approach. The biosimilars company needs agreement from the…

Manufacturing Management and Analytical Strategies

    The need to streamline costs, shorten development timelines, and stretch valuable resources is driving biomanufacturers to seek innovative ways of enhancing manufacturing efficiency. Analytical methods for process development and validation as well as use of production technologies such as disposables and supply chain logistics can help companies establish facility flexibility. Effective management of a good manufacturing practice (GMP) facility requires a keen eye on all those factors. The Enhancing Manufacturing and Development Efficiency track of the 2011 BioProcess…

Recovery and Purification

    A downstream process that leverages the advantages of innovative technologies such as disposables, in-line monitoring, and high-throughput systems as well as the robust methods for its harvest and purification steps can significantly improve in a company’s time (and cost) to clinic or commercialization. The 2011 BioProcess International Conference and Exhibition provides forward-thinking presentations that can help you define, characterize, and simplify your downstream design space.   Process Development   Many biomanufacturers have already experienced the advantages of high-throughput…

Biosimilars in Development

    The 2009 Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA) provided the bioprocessing industry with the legislative pathway toward approval of biosimilars. US Food and Drug Administration information regarding how it will translate that legislation, however, had been limited until an August 2011 article finally provided some insight on how those guidances might actually play out (1). As expected, the agency appears to be implementing a science-driven approach, with sponsor companies needing to apply complementary orthogonal analytical methods to…