March 2011

Building a Bridge to Commercial Success

The history of the biopharmaceutical industry is one of continual invention and reinvention, of business models that have adapted to weather uncertain product futures and shifting economic fortunes. Some of us followed the up-and-down (and often financially painful) progress of monoclonal antibodies toward their eventual commercial success — a wealth of experience to draw from as other classes of products make their way from laboratories and onto the market. The vast majority of regenerative medicines are still produced at laboratory…

Industry Educational Platforms Drive Commercialization Objectives

    Within the International Society for Cellular Therapy’s (ISCT’s) Industry Commercialization committee, Tracey Lodie, director of immunology and stem cell biology at Genzyme, chairs the Industry Education subcommittee, which was established in May 2010. In an interview with BPI, she described the subcommittee’s objectives and how they tie into the manufacturing, testing, and commercialization challenges for cellular therapies.   Reducing the Risk   “ISCT is working toward becoming an informational hub, acting as a resource to de-risk cell therapy…

Therapies of Tomorrow Require More Than Factories from the Past

Live cells are being incorporated as active agents and delivery vehicles for a broad range of emerging therapeutic strategies. Successful commercialization of a cell therapy requires more than proving its safety and efficacy to regulators. Ultimately a therapy must be commercially viable, allowing enough patients to be treated with an adequate financial margin to justify investment in it as a product. “Whether the cells used are universal (allogeneic) or patient-specific (autologous), it is unlikely to be wholly one or the…

Building from the Ground Up

    New treatment modalities — as transformative as they may be of our approaches to human healthcare — still need to be profitable for their developers, provide the sorts of returns desired by investors, and be accessible to patients financially. As many industry experts have told us, the venture capital climate these days is much different from that of the early, giddier days of monoclonal antibodies. And with criteria still-emerging around the world for how regenerative medicines are and…

Successful Commercialization Through Industry Collaboration

    Nearly a year ago, the International Society for Cell Therapies (ISCT) decided to integrate industry into its organization to build a stronger platform for commercializing therapies. Robert Deans, vice president of regenerative medicine at Athersys, was invited to serve as a leader of ISCT’s Industry Task Force, which aimed to identify industry roles in its organization. Within two months, the task force invited industry members and chartered a white paper (1) that described how ISCT should go forward.…

Working Together for the Future

Most individuals who choose to pursue a career in healthcare would say they do so because they are driven by a fundamental desire to help people. If you ask people why they decided to work in the field of regenerative medicine, many will tell you it’s because they believe it is the most exciting area of medical research and that it holds the greatest potential to transform medicine as we know it. The transformational potential of stem cells and regenerative…

Opportunities in Regenerative Medicine

Capitol Hill fly-in days (see the last page of this issue) … A focus of Google Ventures (www.google.com/ventures) … A favored new investment arena for GE’s CEO Jeffrey Immelt, the recently named head of President Obama’s economic recovery advisory panel, and Life Technologies’ Greg Lucier … Hardly a day skipped without a major news publication covering some exciting aspect of the science … The provocative cover of Wired magazine’s (www.wired.com/magazine) November 2010 issue … It all sounds like the stuff…

Distinctions Between Analytical and Bioanalytical Test Methods

Analytical methods used for characterization, release, and stability testing of biotechnological/biological products are often automatically referred to as “bioanalytical” methods by some in the field. Many times the term is used to distinguish between test methods applied to small-molecule chemical products and those for macromolecular, biologically based products. It seems sensible enough: We use analytical methods to test chemical pharmaceutical products, so aren’t test methods used for biopharmaceutical products therefore bioanalytical methods? Any way, who cares whether the term is…

Stem-Cell–Based Therapies

A recent review of therapeutics in clinical development revealed 68 stem cell-based approaches (1). The majority of those leverage a patient’s own hematopoietic stem cells; others are exploring use of mesenchymal, neural, or embryonic stem cells. Here I highlight new therapeutic applications of stem cells and explore advances in the areas of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) and process-scale production of stem cells. Both should create new opportunities for stem cell-based therapies. Types of Stem Cells Hematopoietic stem cell…

A 483 Primer

The words of George Santayana — “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it” — ring especially true for companies regulated under good manufacturing practices (GMPs). Learning from and reacting to lessons from past inspections (both your own and those of other companies) is one of the best ways to prepare for future inspections. Regular review and close study of 483 notices issued during inspections can be an efficient and accessible means of identifying and absorbing…