QA/QC

Closed-System Transfer Devices: Collaboration Provides Tools to Guide Compatibility and Stability Testing Strategy

Ever since the first biopharmaceutical product (biologic) was approved in the 1980s, companies have developed protocols and tests to ensure that such products are safe and effective. Biologics are very different from traditional small-molecule drugs, with unique risks inherent to their manufacturing processes. Biopharmaceutical formulations often present as complex mixtures that can be sensitive to heat, light, and many other factors, all of which must be monitored and assessed. However, until recently, developers worked mostly independently, with only their own…

Integrity of Single-Use Systems: Practical Applications and Deployment

Single-use (SU) technology plays an important role in modern vaccine and biologics manufacturing. System integrity, managed by critical process controls, ensures sterility and is a prerequisite for successful leak-free processing. Nonintegral systems cause loss of product, quality, and time; increase costs through investigations; and lead to potential safety problems. The BioProcess Systems Alliance (BPSA) issued a white paper in 2017, Design, Control, and Monitoring of Single-Use Systems for Integrity Assurance (1), that describes in detail the strategies for design and…

Spontaneous Infection: Did You Leave the Back Door Open to Your Cultivation Suite?

Manufacture of biopharmaceuticals using mammalian cells inherently incurs a risk of viral contamination during cell cultivation. If introduced, viruses can infect and replicate in cells used to produce a therapeutic protein or vaccine. The consequences of such contaminations can be dramatic. Not only can a company lose contaminated batches, but it also faces potentially extensive root-cause investigations, facility cleanup efforts, and introduction of preventive measures. Until contamination issues are resolved adequately, production should not be resumed, and facility downtime brings…

Ask the Expert: Leveraging Quality Management Systems to Achieve Competitive Advantages

During a May 2021 “Ask the Expert” presentation, Jigisha Patel (vice president of global regulatory compliance and technical services at Spectrum Chemical Manufacturing Corporation) emphasized the need to minimize supply-chain contingencies that lead to variability across raw materials used in biopharmaceutical manufacturing. Deviations in raw-material specifications can jeopardize good manufacturing practice (GMP) compliance and reduce drug-product efficacy and stability. Patel explained how her company’s quality management system ensures that bioprocess materials will meet specifications and process needs. Patel’s Presentation Patel…

eBook: Process-Related Impurities — Emerging Strategies for Detection, Identification, and Management of Host-Cell Proteins

Host-cell proteins (HCPs) represent a major class of process-related impurities (PRIs) that are generated during biopharmaceutical manufacture. Although the vast majority of such proteins are removed from a drug substance during downstream purification, residual HCPs can remain in a finished drug product. Even in minimal concentrations, copurifying HCPs can pose safety risks and compromise protein-product yield, efficacy, and stability. Thus, regulatory agencies consider the presence of HCPs to be a critical quality attribute (CQA). Sufficient clearance of these impurities helps…

Introduction: Technologies Converge in Biopharmaceutical Laboratories

Bioassay development is foundational to the well-characterized biotechnology product paradigm. Bioassays are the best tools for drug developers to use in determining the biological activity (potency) of their products, which has been a biopharmaceutical critical quality attribute (CQA) since long before that concept had a name. Thus, these assays are vital to quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC), preclinical studies, and clinical testing — and by extension to process development and monitoring. Because of their complex nature, bioassays are among…

Automation of Potency Assays: A Strategic Journey

Cell-based potency testing provides quantitative data concerning a drug’s biological activity. Thus, it plays an essential role in biopharmaceutical quality control (QC), good manufacturing practice (GMP) product release, comparability determination, and stability testing for both drug products and drug substances. Potency is a critical quality attribute (CQA) often scrutinized by regulators and reviewers. Test methods are specific to a drug’s mechanism of action (MoA) and should be validated to internationally harmonized regulatory standards (1). The options preclude applying a simple…

HCP Assay Development: Managing Risks with Evolving Technologies

Host-cell proteins (HCPs) are major impurities of concern in biomanufacturing. When present in drug formulations, they can reduce efficacy (by compromising product stability), introduce toxicity, and increase a recipient’s risk for long-term immunogenicity. Understanding HCP profiles and integrating effective removal strategies are important parts of developing new biological drugs — to fulfill regulatory guidelines and to ensure patient safety through product quality. HCP populations can be both complex and structurally diverse, and some changes in upstream culture conditions can affect…

Stability Testing: Monitoring Biological Product Quality Over Time

Many physical and chemical factors can affect the quality, safety, and efficacy of biopharmaceutical products, particularly after long-term storage in a container–closure system that can be subject to variations in temperature and light, as well as agitation with shipping and handling. Proteins are inherently complex physiochemically, from their primary amino acid sequences to their higher-order structures, and they require specific conditions to maintain their integrity and functionality. Advanced biological therapies can be even more complicated and particular about their environments.…

Emerging Strategies for Drug Product Comparability and Process Validation: Part 1 — Analytical Tools and Drug Product Comparability

Process validation is a key part of the development and manufacture of all approved drug products, but its completion can be a daunting task. At a two-day CASSS CMC Strategy Forum held in July 2016 in Gaithersburg, MD, speakers and attendees addressed the many technical, practical, and regulatory facets of drug product process validation and comparability. In part 1 of this report, we summarize the key discussion points of the first day, which focused on analytics and comparability. Session One:…