Risk Management

Preparing for a Virtual Audit

Audits are a vital quality-management tool of the biopharmaceutical industry. Whether the objective is to verify supplier or partner qualifications, contribute to corrective and preventative actions (CAPA), or fulfill regulatory compliance requirements, conducting proactive auditing is key to successful operations. Over the past year, virtual audits —also known as remote or distance audits — have enabled biopharmaceutical companies to meet compliance and quality assurance demands despite COVID-19–related travel restrictions and social-distancing protocols. Notwithstanding the challenges of virtual audits, the benefits…

No More Sleepwalking: New Mindsets for Manufacturing Cell and Gene Therapies at Commercial Scale

Cell and gene therapies (CGTs) offer potential cures to some of the most challenging illnesses of our time. The number of such therapies approved for market is set to surge in the next 10 years (1). Yet current manufacturing approaches are not fit for purpose. Biomanufacturing must adapt to prevent the industry from unintentionally sleepwalking into causing harm to patients. Some urgently needed changes could come with learning about the mindset of the medical-devices industry. Background and Current State After…

Microbiome-Based Therapeutics: Negotiating Key Development Challenges

Microbiome-based therapeutics have evolved significantly in recent years, with several promising candidates advancing through the clinical pipeline. That progress is the result of growing evidence showing that targeting and manipulating the microbiome could improve human health and treat more than 25 conditions by restoring healthy bacterial populations (1). The human microbiome comprises a diverse community of microorganisms, helpful and harmful. It differs by person based on factors such as genetics, environmental influences, diet, and immune function. Microorganisms play a role…

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…