2011

Cell Culture

After over three decades of progress, cell culture bioprocesses in the biopharmaceutical industry continue to evolve. From early laboratory culture methods to vaccine production in the mid-20th century, the first biopharmaceutical companies had a century of basic understanding to build on when they developed the first recombinant expression systems. Since those first efforts in the 1980s, a succession of cell culture biologists and engineers have improved processes using a series of products that have been increasingly specified for their use.…

New Technologies to Meet the Challenge of Pandemic Influenza

    In the early spring of 2009, a new strain of H1N1 influenza emerged and swept across the globe more rapidly than vaccine producers could keep pace. By the time the pandemic abated in February 2010, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that between 8,500 and 17,600 Americans had died from H1N1 infection, with a disproportionate number of deaths occurring among healthy children and young adults. An estimated 15–25% of the nation’s population was exposed to the…

Generic Biologics

      The Biologics Price Competition and Innovation (BPCI) Act of 2009 establishes an abbreviated approval pathway for biologic drugs in the United States that are demonstrated to be highly similar (biosimilar) to or interchangeable with biological products licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). BPCI was part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Act) that was signed into law on 23 March 2010 (1). As the name of the umbrella legislation implies, the legislative…

Development of a Universal Influenza Vaccine

    Seasonal influenza affects millions of people around the world, with as many as 500,000 deaths annually resulting from influenza-related illnesses. The flu virus undergoes frequent and unpredictable mutations (antigenic drift and shift) that limit the ability of available strain-specific vaccines to protect the population against strains other than those specifically included in a particular season’s flue vaccine. Annual reformulation of the vaccines is needed for annual immunizations. BiondVax Pharmaceuticals Ltd., an Israeli biotechnology company, is developing a universal…

Key Aspects of Enzyme Activity and Steady-State Kinetics

Living systems rely on enzymes to perform many essential functions for survival. One prime example is digestion, the conversion of food into energy. Each enzyme possesses specific requirements for the types of molecules that it can use as substrates or reactants to convert to products. Here, I provide some basic information about enzymes, explain their biochemical parameters (e.g., kinetic parameters) and significance for characterization, and review related assays currently available to the bioprocess industry. Lactose intolerance is a common enzyme…

Comparing H1N1 Virus Quantification with a Unique Flow Cytometer and Quantitative PCR

    A novel influenza A (H1N1) virus was discovered in Mexico in early 2009 (1). Infections from this strain led to declaration of a pandemic midyear, with about 61 million patients and 13,000 deaths reported by the US Centers for Disease Control (2). Although the pandemic officially ended in August 2010 (3), vaccines are still in demand to protect people against the H1N1 strain that is now expected to circulate seasonally for years to come. To best respond to…

Meeting Increased Demands on Cell-Based Processes By Using Defined Media Supplements

Rapidly increasing demand for cell-derived products has placed huge pressures on the biomanufacturing industry’s production capacity requirements. Media development strategies continue to be a primary focus for optimizing output from cell culture systems. Animal cells used in manufacturing protein products have complex nutrient requirements specific for each cell type, clone, and product. Individual nutrient requirements were once addressed by using serum-based media rich in growth factors and supplements, which provided an optimal culture environment for cell growth and productivity (1).…

An Approach to Design and Performance Testing of an Impeller-Driven Single-Use Mixer

    Single-use technology is now well established for many bioprocessing unit operations, including sterile filtration and product storage, where it provides specific benefits such as elimination of cleaning and cleaning validation, reduced risk of contamination, and enclosed systems for safer handling. Recently, single-use technology has been introduced into more complex unit operations such as purification by chromatography (1), tangential-flow filtration (2), and mixing systems. More complex processing steps, however, present a challenging task for developers of single-use products. Mixing…

Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance for Bioprocess Development, Monitoring, and Validation

    Academic laboratories have embraced localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) as the “new wave” of label-free technology (1). This technique is based on the ability of colloidal metal nanoparticles or nanostructured metallic films to absorb light in a narrow wavelength range. Metal nanostructures “sense” changes occurring at their surfaces by shifting the frequency of the light they absorb or reflect. As a consequence, a basic LSPR system requires only optical fibers, a source of white light, and a detector…

From the Editor

      Conference themes and approaches can be looked at as sort of a crazy quilt representing the state of the industry: with pieces of all different shapes and colors that come together to form a cohesive whole. They fit together in many ways, depending on the organizers (quilters?); many pieces are omitted and saved for the next quilt. But how to find the most successful combinations requires technique as well as imagination. Here are some topics I’ve been…