November 2008

Assessing Nonparallelism in Bioassays

The classic F-test for nonparallelism is widely used for bioassays with linear log dose-response lines to assess parallelism, or, more correctly, to examine the strength of evidence against a null hypothesis that the two lines are parallel. Alternative methods for assessing parallelism have been proposed, but their suitability for any particular case needs to be carefully considered. Here we examine some advantages and disadvantages of the different approaches. PRODUCT FOCUS: ALL BIOLOGICALSPROCESS FOCUS: QA/QCWHO SHOULD READ: QA/QC, ASSAY DEVELOPMENT, AND…

CMOs Can Add Value to Outsourced Projects

Organizations outsource tasks to contract service providers for diverse reasons ranging from internal resource constraints (particularly in virtual or start-up companies) to overflow capacity, or to avoid or delay capital or resource investment. The scope of outsourced work varies from limited tasks such as an outsourced assay to complete process development and GMP manufacturing. In a highly competitive outsourcing market, customers expect successful and timely execution of the outsourced work, but they also seek “added value” to the overall program.…

Technologies and Training Move Sterility to New Levels

Take six people and sample the microbial ecosystem on their forearms, and you will find more than 240 distinct microbes (1, 2). So it becomes readily apparent why keeping a cleanroom “clean” is a difficult task. One problem is that we humans are limited in our visual capacities and can see objects down to only 50 µm (3). If we could see contaminating particles, we would likely be very quick to clean them away. In fact, cleaning and cleaning validation…

Critical Issues in Outsourcing to a CMO

Deciding to outsource biopharmaceutical manufacturing is a strategic decision with long-term consequences. Most companies deliberate carefully as they select a contract manufacturing organization (CMO). Because the factors involved in such deliberations vary widely among organizations — and they shift over time — my company has included an analysis of critical outsourcing issues as part of its fifth annual report and survey of biopharmaceutical manufacturing capacity and production (1). In this year’s study of 434 global biomanufacturing facilities, we found the…

Comparing Mammalian Expression Systems

Almost every pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company in the world depends on the use of recombinant stable cell lines to enable drug discovery, development, and often manufacturing of biologics. It normally falls on multidisciplinary upstream development teams to attain this goal, requiring a wide variety of technologies and skill sets such as laboratory robotics, optical analyzers, molecular biology, and data processing. The large capital investment required to procure the equipment and expertise necessary to develop biologics can be cost prohibitive, which…

Maximizing Data Collection and Analysis During Preformulation of Biotherapeutic Proteins

Preformulation research, a critical component in the development of biotherapeutics, explores the effects of variables such as pH, ionic strength, and excipients on the solution behavior of a protein. This activity can greatly assist in guiding downstream formulation development, and it provides valuable information concerning protein stability, solubility, and structure. Successful preformulation research leads to identification of potential protein degradation pathways and development of robust formulations with acceptable product shelf-lives. PRODUCT FOCUS: PROTEINSPROCESS FOCUS: DOWNSTREAM PROCESSING, FORMULATIONWHO SHOULD READ: FORMULATIONS,…

Biopharmaceutical Quality Assurance

The basic concepts and reasons for quality assurance (QA) in biotechnology are, of course, the same as for the manufacture of any other medicinal product or device: to assure the safety of the patient. So, what’s different about biotechnology? The variety of products is vast — from well characterized proteins in production for the past couple of decades, to cell based products, genetically modified oncolytic viruses, viral gene vectors — and many more, with new innovations almost daily. Although their…