2011

Australia

    Australia is the only Asia–Pacific country that’s home to one of the world’s top-10 biotechnology companies (in revenue): CSL Limited, a maker of drugs, vaccines, antivenoms, blood products, and diagnostics. Many companies in the West consider this country a “gateway” to the Asia–Pacific region because of its relatively familiar culture, language, laws, and infrastructure. Indeed, Australia’s proximity to Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the rest of Asia compares favorably to the rest of the English-speaking world. For cell therapies…

Top 10 Changes in FDA’s Process Validation Guidance

Two years after drafting a comprehensive revision of the 1987 process validation guidance, the FDA finalized the document this year. The revision elaborates on modern quality by design (QbD) techniques for developing a process, analyzing risks, and monitoring for control. The initial draft update remains largely intact, with some important adjustments focused on clarifying the FDA’s intent for how the industry is expected to validate its processes. 1 — Minor Changes: The guidance includes more references to the Code of…

A World of Innovation

The world faces a clear need for innovative biological products to treat and prevent diseases that cause significant health burdens. What might be less obvious is a need for innovation in biomanufacturing processes. If these products are to be made more efficiently and cost-effectively through less wasteful and safer means, then improvements are definitely needed. “We need innovations in downstream bioprocessing, whether the products are vaccines, recombinant proteins, or other bioproducts,” said Uwe Gottschalk, vice president of purification technologies at…

Disposable Downstream Processing for Clinical Manufacturing

Although disposable parts and modules have been used in the biopharmaceutical industry since the 1970s, as detailed in the “History” box, total disposable manufacturing has become a viable option only very recently. Whereas liquid storage became disposable in the 1990s, processing operations such as depth filtration, tangential-flow filtration (TFF), and chromatography have still required skids with reusable flow paths that needed cleaning and sanitization. Important recent milestones in total disposable technology included introduction of stirred bioreactors by HyClone (Thermo Scientific)…

Implementing a Single-Use Solution for Fill–Finish Manufacturing Operations

    Fill–finish is the final operation in manufacture of sterile products (except for terminally sterilized products). This process requires sophisticated technology and machinery in a highly controlled, aseptic environment. Fill–finish assemblies must meet stringent requirements to ensure flow-path sterility and integrity, ensure operational safety and efficiency, and provide fill-volume accuracy to exacting requirements. Traditional fill–finish machinery comes as fixed systems comprising complex components that require assembly, cleaning and sterilization, disassembly, and material storage after filling is complete. Those operational…

Quality By Design and the New Process Validation Guidance

    Where were you in 1987, and what were you doing? I’m not too embarrassed to say that I was beginning my last year of high school and paying far more attention to guitar lessons and writing my first novel than what I might eventually do for a career. Meanwhile, the US FDA was publishing a guidance document on process validation that the biopharmaceutical industry has relied on ever since. I’m willing to bet that quite a few readers…

A Case Study in Qualification of Single-Use Filling Manifolds for Particles and Endotoxins

    Single-use technology is being examined for implementation in an increasing number of steps in the biopharmaceutical manufacturing process. Some examples of currently available disposable components include filter capsules, tubing, connectors, and biocontainers (for storage, mixing, and bioreactors), as well as devices for chromatography and multipass tangential-flow filtration (1,2). This technology was first implemented in upstream and API downstream processes such as media and buffer preparation, followed by upstream bioreactors and mixers (3). The single-use trend has most recently…

The New US Biosimilar Legislation, One Year Later

    About a year ago, President Obama signed into law the highly publicized health care reform bill known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This legislation included the new Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (now a “biosimilar statute”). Before enactment of that biosimilar statute on 23 March 2010, no “abbreviated” regulatory approval system existed in the United States for biologics — unlike Europe, which has had a system since 2005, and unlike US generic…

Adoption of Single-Use Sensors for BioProcess Operations

The increasing adoption of single-use technology in biopharmaceutical, vaccine, and cell therapy production is one indication that such technology has moved far beyond its novelty stage. Arguably, this is the preferred technology of newly developed processes. Benefits have been well documented in journals and conference presentations and have led the industry to form the Bio-Process Systems Alliance (BPSA). One current need is for process sensors that offer the same convenience as disposable bags, tubings, and filters being used. An ideal…

Won’t Get Fooled Again

    The world loves a winner, and no one wants to be linked to a failed endeavor that could stall or otherwise negatively affect his or her career. If you’re reading this magazine, you’ve probably been inspected or audited by regulators and/or customers at some point. When it was finished, did your company compare favorably with expectations, or did the reports reflect a negative image? Did they mirror management’s view of operations, or was there a disconnect with management…