2021

Facilities for Novel Therapies: Demystifying Design and Engineering Requirements for Cell and Gene Therapy Production

Many veterans of the biologics industry presume that emerging therapeutics such as cell and gene therapies (CGTs) require production facilities that differ substantially from those for monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) and other conventional biologics. But experience with designing CGT facilities bears out that far more synergies than differences exist across facilities for conventional and advanced therapies. Herein, I call attention to some of those shared design concerns and demystify facilities and engineering requirements for CGTs. Observing the Synergies Many processes have…

Benefits of Single-Use Standardization: Adopting a Standard Design Approach

It is widely accepted that standardization of single-use designs and assemblies would be beneficial to the biopharmaceutical industry, providing it quickly with simple and economical solutions. Meanwhile, as implementation of single-use technology increases across the biopharmaceutical industry, suppliers are struggling to keep up with demand. That has been evident particularly in current supply issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A widely adopted single-use standardization approach could help alleviate such supply issues. That would not only benefit the industry by helping…

Expanding the Flow Cytometry Toolkit with Next-Generation Polymer Dyes

Since the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, scientists have discovered more about the role of our immune systems and cytokine-associated processes responsible for systemic immune reactions that are typical in patients with COVID-19 (1). Flow cytometry is used to understand those processes at a single-cell level. It is the standard method used in immunology to characterize multiple phenotypic and functional parameters of single cells, including cytokine analysis. Despite advances in flow cytometry instrumentation, reagents, and analytical software, several challenges remain. Conjugated antibodies…

Facility Design:
A Guide to Maximizing Value

Rapid growth and changing market dynamics in biologics and vaccine sectors have prompted biopharmaceutical companies and contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) to build new manufacturing facilities at unprecedented speeds. This often means developing single-use (SU) or hybrid bioprocessing facilities with reusable legacy equipment for production of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs), antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs), and viral-based vectors. For many companies, facility design begins by engaging an engineering consultancy to develop a layout that maximizes space use and minimizes equipment, fittings, and…

Ask the Expert: Formulation Strategies for AAV-Based Gene Therapies

Although formulation and drug-product activities are critical to developing gene therapies, much remains to be learned about their degradation mechanisms, and firm criteria still need to be established for buffer and excipient selection. Sarathi Vijay Boddapati (associate director of formulation and drug development at Catalent Cell and Gene Therapy) joined BPI on 25 March 2021 to present what his company continues to learn about formulating gene therapies by adapting methods used for other biologics. Boddapati’s Presentation Adenoassociated virus (AAV) remains…

The Pandemic Changes Facility Strategy: A Focus on Speed to Market Triggers Innovation

The push to expedite COVID-19 vaccines over the past year has led the biopharmaceutical industry to try novel strategies to accelerate product development and manufacturing. To compress discovery, development, and manufacturing into several months rather than a typical multiple-year effort has meant reexamining nearly every aspect of the process — including facilities required to house the work. Successful COVID-19 vaccine development undoubtedly will change biomanufacturing strategy forever. Previously, current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) manufacturing options were twofold: building facilities and…

eBook: Chromatography Resins — Addressing Challenges in Biologic Purification Workflows

Although chromatography remains the backbone of downstream workflows, selecting appropriate technologies to optimize processes can be challenging. Numerous resin options are available, and the fact that most biologics are large, complex, and inherently unstable further complicates development of a robust workflow. Because chromatography processes can alter a biologic in ways that could impair its intended therapeutic function, investment in process development is critical. Techniques such as design of experiments (DoE) can be used to identify the best approach during process…

eBook: mRNA — Revisiting a Technology That Has Rocketed into Success

At the end of 2018, BPI published its first eBook about mRNA drug products — and quite a lot has happened since then! Our initial report highlighted companies working on mRNA therapeutics for cystic fibrosis, heart disease, and cancer, as well as vaccines. The latter approach took off in 2020 with the advent of SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 pandemic, and in a stunningly short time, the biopharmaceutical industry has learned much about manufacture, formulation, product design, and distribution of mRNA…

Preparing for Process Improvements: Discussions of the Cell Therapy Industry’s Supply Chain, Automation, and Control Needs

As editors, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to listen to biopharmaceutical developers and innovators discuss the intricacies of their work. Typically, we find that the best discussions come from asking two fundamental questions: What need did you observe in the industry that drove your work, and what technologies would help you do your job better? Over the past five years or so, the answers have shifted. Cell and gene therapy (CGT) innovators are focusing on increasingly complex diseases…

Untapped Potential of Tissue Engineering: The Three Obstacles Holding It Back

Regenerative medicine is the interdisciplinary field comprising tissue engineering, cell therapy, and gene therapy. These biopharmaceutical modalities, also referred to as advanced therapies, are growing rapidly, characterized by groundbreaking therapeutic advances that have the potential to change how healthcare providers deliver care. As Figure 1 shows, cell and gene therapies have gained traction over the past decade, as evidenced by large increases in investment and the number of marketed products. By contrast, tissue engineering investment and product commercialization has lagged…