Product Characterization

Stress-Induced Antibody Aggregates

Biomanufacturing of monoclonal antibodies (MAb) involves a number of unit operations, including cell culture in a bioreactor followed by chromatography and filtration. Purification is intended to remove impurities, such as protein aggregates, but some such operations may actually generate protein aggregation (1). Table 1 summarizes potential sources of aggregate formation during biomanufacturing processes. Aggregates are multimers of native, partially denatured, or fully denatured proteins. Their presence in biological formulations can trigger detrimental immunogenic responses upon administration (2). Moreover, aggregates can…

Tunable Half-Life Technology

While a constantly developing market puts increasing pressure on pharmaceutical companies to provide advanced and personalized therapies, the industry is investing heavily in the development of targeted biologics. The aim is often to take new therapeutics through clinical trials and to market as quickly as possible and to develop more novel, tailored drugs. One common challenge for many biologics is their short plasma half-life. That often leads to reduced bioavailability, meaning that an administered drug will clear from a patient’s…

Biophysical Analysis of Living Cells

Adecades-old technology is finally emerging from clinical laboratories and demonstrating its utility in drug discovery and development. Cell therapy researchers bring their laboratory experiences with them as their science is commercialized. And as biopharmaceutical production engineers incorporate quality by design (QbD) and process analytical technology (PAT) into their work, they find that a method for monitoring the state and distribution of living cells can help build valuable upstream process knowledge. In flow cytometry, cells are suspended in fluid to flow…

Prior-Knowledge Assessments

    Process characterization (PC) studies are experiments performed primarily at laboratory scale to demonstrate process robustness and provide data necessary for planning, risk mitigation, and successful execution of process validation (1, 2). These typically involve extensive, multifactorial testing designed to determine the effects of operational parameter perturbations and raw materials on process performance and product quality (1, 2). Product-specific information from development studies may be used to help guide PC study design; however, such information may be limited or…

A Decade of Characterization

    Over the past 10 years, the biopharmaceutical industry has placed increasing pressure on analytical laboratories, whose work is more important to the success of biotherapeutic products than ever before. Nearly concomitant with the appearance of BPI on the scene, the US Food and Drug Administration put forth its final report on the 21st century good manufacturing practice initiative, which in changing how regulators would review product applications, changed how companies must approach them (1). The guiding principles —…

“Hard Cell”: Potency Testing for Cellular Therapy Products

Potency testing is defined in 21 CFR Part 600.3(s) as “the specific ability or capacity of the product, as indicated by appropriate laboratory tests or by adequately controlled clinical data obtained through the administration of the product in the manner intended, to effect a given result” (1). Potency measurement is especially important for complex products such as cellular therapies (CTs). It is considered an essential aspect of the quality-control system for a CT drug substance and drug product. It is…

Recommendations for Cell Banks Used in GXP Assays

Cells and cell-derived reagents form the basis of an operationally challenging class of test methods used in execution of product potency testing (stability and lot release), assessments of pharmacokinetic/ pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) profiles, detection of antidrug antibodies (ADAs) or neutralizing antibodies (NAB), and characterization and comparability testing of biopharmaceutical products. Frequently, cell-based assays provide the only measurement of the tertiary/quaternary structure of each batch of product at the time of lot release and during stability testing to assist in determining product…

Imaged Capillary Isoelectric Focusing for Charge-Variant Analysis of Biopharmaceuticals

    Analyzing charge variants of therapeutic proteins is critical for characterizing and monitoring quality attributes of antibodies. Charge variants include deamidation, formation of N-terminal pyroglutamate, aggregation, isomerization, sialylated glycans, antibody fragmentation, and glycation at the lysine residues. In some cases, such changes affect binding, biological activity, patient safety, and shelf life. The biopharmaceutical industry relies on tools such as ion-exchange chromatography (IEC), isoelectric-focusing gel electrophoresis (IEF), and capillary equivalents such as capillary isoelectric focusing (CIEF) and imaged CIEF (iCIEF)…

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…

Uniting Small Molecule and Biologic Drug Perspectives

    Cosponsored by CASSS (an international separation science society) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the January 2010 CMC Strategy Forum explored antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs), which are monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) coupled to cytotoxic agents. The ADC platform of products is being used more and more for clinical evaluation in oncology. More than a dozen companies are developing several types, including products conjugated with calicheamicin, auristatins, and maytansinoids. Such products use the specificity of a MAb to deliver…