Upstream Development

Understanding the Basics of Peptide and Protein Production

With strong growth in biologics, large molecules, and biopharmaceutical therapeutics in recent years, the pharmaceutical and biotech industries are increasingly turning toward peptides and proteins in their search for drug discovery targets. While both offer significant therapeutic potential, there are fundamental differences between the two types of molecule. Definitions: Peptides are short polymers formed from the linking of (usually ≤100) amino acids. They comprise some of the most basic components of human biological processes, including enzymes and hormones. The link…

Is Bovine Albumin Too Complex to Be Just a Commodity?

    Albumin is the most abundant serum protein. It serves several functions in vivo: e.g., binding and transport of fatty acids, hormones, and metal ions; maintenance of osmotic pressure and pH; and binding of exogenous toxins and products of lipid oxidation (1). Over time, development of large–scale purification methods have translated those functions into diagnostic, cell culture, and microbiological applications. It is important to note, however, that purification procedures can promote molecular changes and thereby add to the already…

Process Development’s Impact on Cost of Goods Manufactured (COGM)

    Manufacturing throughput (the amount of material a plant can produce per year) is affected by process yield and plant run rate. The higher they are, the more a plant can produce per year, requiring fewer lots to meet annual demand. Although a process development team obviously determines the process yield, the team also determines the impact on the run rate of duration and potential implementation complexity of the entire train of unit operations. Thus, an optimized process maximizes…

Efficient Development of Stable High-Titer Cell Lines for Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing

Commercial manufacturing of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) commonly uses mammalian cells to generate large quantities of a drug. Identifying cell lines that stably produce high protein titers is, therefore, a critical part of biopharmaceutical development. Unfortunately, identifying suitable cell lines is traditionally a time-consuming, labor-intensive process. That’s because their productivity and stability can vary enormously, so large numbers of clones must be screened to find those with both the highest yield and a desired level of product quality (1). Cell-line…

Nutrient Supplementation Strategies for Biopharmaceutical Production, Part 2

Some of the numerous feeding strategies are more appropriate than others for certain types of cell culture production systems. Once a nutrient supplement has been identified as described in Part 1 of this three-part review (1), a supplementation strategy must be chosen. Supplementing at too great a rate may expose log-phase cells to stresses such as increased osmolality and lactate levels that would inhibit biomass expansion. But inadequate supplementation can lead to early apoptosis through rapid depletion of selected important…

Creation of a Well Characterized Small Scale Model for High-Throughput Process Development

    Streamlining process development has been the focus of the biotechnology industry over the past several years. To be financially viable in the current market, a company has to be competitive in all three of the following areas: quality, speed, and price (1). Attaining any two of the three attributes at a time is no longer sufficient. With new tools and technologies along with improved understanding of the cell-culture process, doing high-quality process development while reducing both cycle time…

Interest in Hollow-Fiber Perfusion Bioreactors Is Growing

People who regularly culture animal cells become so comfortable with standard techniques that novel approaches can seem contrived or even unnatural. However, the typical cycle of seeding cells at very low density in an excess of medium and harvesting (often quite aggressively) just before the point of medium exhaustion is quite an unphysiologic process. Popular culture systems often take cells that originally grew attached to a porous matrix at high densities, with little variability in nutrient and oxygen supply, and…

Promoting Discussion in the Biopharmaceutical Community

The Biopharmaceutical Emerging Best Practices Association (BEBPA) hit the scene in September 2008 with its inaugural Bioassay Conference in Berlin, Germany. A not-for-profit association, BEBPA (www.bebpa.org) is managed by the biopharmaceutical scientific community for the benefit of the biopharmaceutical scientific community: companies, regulators, and clinicians. BEBPA provides an open international forum for the presentation and discussion of scientific issues and problems encountered in the biopharmaceutical community. The purpose of this open discussion is to promote development of innovative approaches and…

The Need for a New Process

Surveying BPI readers’ experiences SANJA GJENERO (WWW.SXC.HU) Better, faster, safer: The current drug-development “paradigm” emerging from the FDA is pushing for innovations that reduce process inefficiency and cost. The plethora of new risk-based methodologies include tools being developed as process-analytical-technology (PAT) tools within the encircling parameters of a process design space. All this parallels (and drives) some predictions that the biotechnology industry has seen the last of its blockbuster models, as predictive genomic tools enable personalized approaches to therapeutic development.…

Shrinking the Costs of Bioprocess Development

Process development for large-scale bioproduction is generally more labor-intensive, time-consuming, and expensive than for comparable nonbiological processes because of the large number of individual processes and potential variables involved. To ensure the future commercial viability of biological manufacturing processes and prevent bottlenecks, it is essential to accelerate development of both upstream and downstream processing, as well as to improve process analytics. This not only reduces time and cost factors involved in design of robust bioprocessing protocols, but also reduces the…