Risk Management

Risk Considerations for Aging Pharmaceutical Facility Cleanrooms

Pharmaceutical facility cleanrooms are designed to reduce and control particle contamination and to minimize the ingress and retention of microorganisms. Such risks typically are easy to control in well-designed, modern facilities. But risk mitigation is more difficult in older facilities. There is no exact definition of what constitutes an aging facility (or what are sometimes euphemistically called legacy facilities). For example, a facility established 100 years ago to manufacture a simple tablet can continue to operate perfectly well with careful…

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…

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…

Cold-Chain Validation: Emerging Vaccines for COVID-19 and Beyond Require More Extensive Evaluation

In the wake of fast-track approvals for Pfizer’s and Moderna’s respective SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, now begins the largest immunization campaign in world history. Its success will depend not only on the products’ safety and efficacy, but also on several mass-distribution programs requiring significant cold-chain infrastructure. The public has become acutely aware of the Pfizer vaccine’s demanding cryostorage specifications, generating considerable anxiety about how mass distribution will happen. Behind the scenes, however, cold-chain engineering companies such as Modality Solutions have worked alongside…

Manufacturability Assessment: A Tool for Effective and Transparent Decision-Making and Efficient Process Development

Design for manufacturing (DfM, also known as design for manufacturability) is a common approach in engineering industries when complex, multistep production processes are developed and installed to manufacture products. Adherence to DfM approaches has been prevalent for decades in the automotive, aerospace, and electronics industries, among others (1–3). Recently, a generalized manufacturability-assessment tool with strategies to weigh different aspects of manufacturing has been proposed with numerous similarities to that described herein specific to the field of bioprocess development (4). Although…

Quality Risk Management for Filter Integrity Testing: Compliance with EMA’s Future Annex 1

Quality risk management (QRM) is a systematic process for assessment, control, communication, and review of risks to the quality of a pharmaceutical product across its lifecycle. Although QRM is not new (1), the regulatory focus on QRM will increase with the arrival of the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA’s) Annex 1 (2), which was reviewed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Pharmaceutical Inspection Convention Scheme (PIC/S). Integrity testing of sterilizing-grade filters is…

Unraveling the Complexities of Technology Transfer

In the biopharmaceutical industry, technology transfer refers to transfer of any process, together with its documentation and professional expertise, between development and manufacture or between manufacturing sites (1). This operation is common in the biopharmaceutical industry for a number of structural reasons. They include the dichotomy between small, innovation-based drug companies and large ones able to conduct late-phase clinical development and endowed with manufacturing capacity; the high capital cost of biopharmaceutical plants, which makes contract manufacturing attractive; and the need…

Life-Science Lawsuits: Learning from the Ordeal

Life-science companies often are cast into the role of the “canary in the coal mine” — the first parties to be targeted and hit by lawsuits. Such companies depend on discovery, trial and error, and ultimately efficacy. None of that is a sure bet. At the same time, life-science companies are raising funds constantly to finance their work. Investors and lenders seeing less-than-projected or even “expected” results might sue directors and officers for mismanagement, misrepresentation, or misleading financial statements. This…

A Response Plan for Viral Contamination in Bioproduction Facilities

The biopharmaceutical industry uses living biological systems as a platform for manufacturing of protein-based drugs, vaccines, and other therapies derived from or consisting of different cell types. On one hand, living systems are inherently susceptible to viral infection and may harbor endogenous viruses, so the potential for such contamination cannot be eliminated. On the other hand, the industry has an excellent patient-safety record. Viral safety is achieved through three fundamental measures: prevention (e.g., by selection), removal (by clearance and/or reduction),…

eBook: Joining Forces — Industry Collaborations Toward BioProcess Success

Companies in the biopharmaceutical industry increasingly are working together to solve the many challenges of product/process development and biomanufacturing. Suppliers seek end-user help in refining technologies; academics and small innovators attract the financing and business acumen of large companies; equal partners share in technological problem-solving; and sponsors engage the development expertise of contract research and manufacturing organizations. Other examples of biopharma industry collaborations abound, too. Citing critical examples from the September 2019 BioProcess International East Conference in Boston, MA, this…