Business

Trade-Secret Vulnerabilities: Recent Hacking Schemes Highlight the Need to Protect Proprietary Pharmaceutical Information

On 21 July 2020, the US Attorney’s Office in Spokane, WA, unveiled a sweeping indictment accusing a pair of Chinese hackers of conspiring to steal trade secrets from a number of American pharmaceutical companies and research institutions, including biotechnology companies working on potential COVID-19 vaccines (1). Although the hackers apparently did not succeed in their attempt to obtain vaccine data, their years-long conspiracy involved other attacks on the pharmaceutical industry — and netted them troves of sensitive commercial information. Among…

Biomanufacturing Workforce Development: Fostering Talent During and After the Pandemic

Beyond the human suffering and economic damage caused by COVID-19, one of the most powerful results of the pandemic has been to focus global attention on drug and vaccine development for infectious diseases. Massive investments by governments, institutions, and biopharmaceutical companies have accelerated development of novel therapeutics, including messenger RNA (mRNA) and viral-vector vaccines, that are poised to become transformational platform technologies for biopharmaceutical manufacturing (1). Furthermore, the well-established technology of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) has lived up to its promise…

Emerging Strategies for Drug-Product Comparability and Process Validation: Part 2 — Validation, Legacy Products, and Lifecycle Management

This two-day CASSS CMC Strategy Forum explored many technical, practical, and regulatory facets of biological drug-product (DP) analytics, process validation, and comparability. Part 1 of this report summarized the discussions on drug-product analytics and comparability in BPI’s March 2021 issue (1). Here we report on day two presentations and discussions on validation, legacy products, and lifecycle management. Session Three: Drug-Product Validation The morning session focused on principles of process validation with examples of challenges specific to drug products. New Risk-Based…

Defining a Successful Biotechnology Entrepreneur

Having brought its first vaccine candidates from concept to clinical development in less than three months, BioNTech is making global waves as the pioneer behind Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. Because of such success stories, more eyes than ever are looking at opportunities raised by the biotechnology industry. As talented people around the world from academia, clinical practice, and other industries consider careers in this sector, they should examine the characteristics necessary to become successful biotechnology entrepreneurs. Biotechnology fuses science and business.…

eBook: Buffers — Navigating New Demands on Downstream Raw Materials

Bioreactor titers for monoclonal antibody (MAb) processes have increased significantly since the dawn of the biopharmaceutical industry, yet such gains have instigated bottlenecks for critical high-volume raw materials used in downstream processing, such as buffer solutions. As downstream purification is required for most, if not all, biopharmaceutical products, buffers and their preparation are topics that concern nearly every drug company. But those topics rarely receive direct attention. This BPI eBook explores what factors prompted the current buffer bottleneck and what…

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…

Embracing Innovation in Biomanufacturing

Innovations in bioproduction of therapeutics over the past 20 years have led to impressive improvements in product yield, process controls, and manufacturing safety. Industry 4.0 concepts have been embraced across the bioprocess industry and are leading to better bioprocess control through process automation, “big data” and data analysis, process simulations, the industrial internet of things (IIoT), cybersecurity, the cloud, blockchain/serialization, and additive manufacturing. Such advances help to ensure that a process results in the same outcome every time. As Sean…

The EU MDR Deadline Delay: What Does It Entail for Pharmaceutical Companies?

The life-sciences industry has been working hard to meet the deadline for compliance with the European Union’s Medical Device Regulation (EU MDR, 2017/745) (1). Doing so has been a challenging journey for many companies. Therefore, the full-year postponement of the final application date has been a welcome development, particularly in view of the new and extraordinary challenges stemming from the COVID-19 global health crisis. The extension has instigated other important changes, so it is critical that life-science businesses familiarize themselves…

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:…

COVID-19 As a Catalyst for Changing Orphan-Drug Regulations

A long-awaited (and for months withheld) evaluation of the European Union’s Orphan Drug Regulation (ODR) finally reached the interested public in August 2020 (1). Its publication during the public consultation of the European Commission’s “Pharmaceutical Strategy” was well planned because the latter discusses policies on access, availability, and affordability of new medicines. However, the ODR evaluation shows not only that the intentions behind the legislation have not been fulfilled, but also that its generous incentives (extension of market exclusivity and…