Downstream Validation

Microanalytical Techniques for Identifying Nonprotein Contaminants in Biologics

Proteins can aggregate at any point during pharmaceutical manufacturing. Regulatory agencies pay special attention to aggregates that can enhance immune responses and cause adverse clinical effects and those that can compromise the safety and efficacy of a drug product. Biopharmaceutical companies have stringent quality control (QC) procedures in place to ensure that their final products are free of contaminants and defects, including protein aggregates. Trained QC inspectors, however, can typically see product defects or particulate material only as small as…

A Modular Approach to Facility Validation

Biopharmaceutical manufacturers are striving to maintain productivity and profits while controlling increasing costs. Historically, validation has been seen as an expensive, non–value-added necessity to gaining regulatory approval to manufacture. Less often is it seen as a key element of an overall quality management system (QMS) that supports the safety, quality, and efficacy of end products for patients while also providing invaluable knowledge and experience for enhanced process control and management. When fully integrated with a QMS, a modular validation platform…

New Validation Guidance Causes a Stir

In November 2008 the US FDA finally issued a new draft guidance on process validation (1). The original guidance on this topic was published in May 1987, and the FDA explained that “since then, we have obtained additional experience through our regulatory oversight that allows us to update our recommendations to industry on this topic.” The new guidance is intended to reflect some goals of the FDA’s Pharmaceutical GMPs for the 21st Century, an initiative that was finalized in 2004.…

The Reoccurrence of Mycoplasma Contamination: Prevention Strategies

    The contamination of microbiological media by mycoplasmas such as Acholeplasma laidlawii is not a recent phenomenon. It has been a major problem with animal-derived sera since the 1980s and has been a concern in the management of cell cultures for decades. The main culprit of serum contamination was the inadequate blood collection methodology and was eliminated with the introduction of hollow collection needles. In addition to the introduction of an improved collection method, serum was filtered with 0.1…

Robustness of Parvovirus–Retentive Membranes and Implications for Virus Clearance Validation Requirements

    Generic validation is conceivable only through a thorough understanding of the parameters affecting the performance of a process step. In this paper, we provide a detailed example demonstrating the robustness of a virus filtration step. As a first step towards the establishment of a generic validation package for a monoclonal antibody, the robustness of clearance of PP7 across the ViroSart CPV filter was evaluated by changing several critical operational parameters using a simple one-off experimental design. Two different…

Managing the Analytical Life-Cycle for Biotechnology Products

The analytical program for a given biotherapeutic has a life-cycle analogous to that of a manufacturing process used to prepare material for clinical and commercial use. This two-part article discusses analytical activities associated with the progression of biotherapeutic candidates from the early stages of clinical development through their appearance as licensed drugs on the market. In Part One, we examined the stages of the analytical life-cycle. Here we conclude by going into more detail on challenges associated with method qualification,…

Biotech Facilities Average a Batch Failure Every 40.6 Weeks

Gathering information about batch failure rates in the biopharmaceutical industry is about as easy as getting politicians to talk about their most embarrassing gaffes and indiscretions. Although it comes as no surprise that batches do fail, some readers may be surprised at how relatively well many organizations appear to be performing. Based on the results of our recently released annual report and survey (1), facilities are experiencing batch failures at an average rate of about one every nine months (40.6…

Managing the Analytical Lifecycle for Biotechnology Products

Biotechnology pipelines have demonstrated significant growth over the past decade, with many therapeutic candidates evolving in a single class of protein molecules: the monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). To develop such therapeutic candidates, a scalable drug development process must leverage in-house and industry-wide knowledge so biotechnology companies can address the economic and medical needs of 21st-century medicine. Biotherapeutics development is complex, resource intensive, and time consuming, taking some 10 years of effort to go from target validation to commercialization. This reality, coupled…

Validation of Adventitious Virus Removal By Virus Filtration

Regulatory bodies around the world expect downstream purification processes to demonstrate robust clearance of model adventitious viruses in time for execution of phase 3 clinical trials and product licensure (1,2,3). Model viruses selected for these studies should represent a diversity of viral physicochemical properties, and the clearance methods applied should include orthogonal mechanisms such as clearance based on size alongside chemical inactivation. Virus filtration is a critical unit operation used in numerous purification processes of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs), recombinant proteins,…

Emerging Analytical Technologies for Biotherapeutics Development

A major goal of pharmaceutical development is to characterize pathways of chemical and physical instability and then to develop strategies to minimize them. Deamidation and oxidation are examples of the former, aggregation a result of the latter. The potential for the presence of multiple variants in protein-based pharmaceuticals highlights a need for analytical methods capable of reliably and accurately identifying and measuring those variants. The ideal analytical method would be sensitive, accurate, linear over a broad range, resistant to sample-matrix…