Cell/Gene Therapies

Facing a Unique Challenge: Building an In-House Cell and Gene Therapy Manufacturing Facility During the Pandemic

In 2019, Expression Therapeutics (ET) obtained investigational new drug (IND) approval for its lead clinical product. The third-generation lentiviral vector (LV) expresses a bioengineered coagulation factor VIII to be used in an autologous hematopoietic stem- and progenitor-cell gene therapy for patients with severe hemophilia A. Like many other emerging biotechnology companies, ET’s initial strategy used reputable contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) for vector and cell manufacturing needs and a prominent clinical contract research organization (CRO) with extensive experience in…

Multimodal Facility Design for Cell and Gene Therapies

Cell and gene therapies (CGTs) are progressing rapidly through development pipelines and advancing through clinical trial phases. Manufacturing capacity will need to be sufficient when such products are approved for commercialization. Thus, biomanufacturers are seeking ways to leverage multimodal facilities. I spoke with Stephen Judd, who is principal process engineer for biologics and cell and gene therapy at DPS Group, an engineering and construction management consultancy. We talked about design considerations for multimodal facilities, how such facilities contribute to overall…

Robots in Biomanufacturing: A Road Map for Automation of Biopharmaceutical Operations

As BioPhorum authors stated in 2019, “It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with biomanufacturing that current designs of bioprocess facilities as well as associated manufacturing spaces and support operations require excessive amounts of manual labor and manual interventions that lead to high labor costs and, consequently, total cost to supply” (1). Back then, a realization was starting to take hold in the biopharmaceutical industry that modern robotics showed great potential. However, a cohesive vision of their future…

Regulatory Testing for Cell and Gene Therapies: Meeting the Challenges

Compared with small molecules and other biopharmaceuticals, advanced therapies typically have more complex mechanisms of action and therefore more complex testing requirements. These requirements also change over time as innovators, testing organizations, and regulators apply recent learnings to current projects. When developing a novel cell or gene therapy it is therefore crucial to have a robust, flexible plan for testing your drug. This plan must be sufficient for proving that your drug meets safety standards and other benchmarks, and ultimately,…

Hurdles Ahead for Cell and Gene Therapy Makers

Significant growth of the cell and gene therapy (CGT) pipeline in recent years demonstrates the enormous potential of these modalities to treat or even cure otherwise intractable diseases. Several CGT products have been approved for clinical use over the past five years. More than 75 such products have come to the market around the world so far. They include chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies that involve genetic engineering of patient cells ex vivo as well as in vivo gene therapies…

Scalability in Cell and Gene Therapy Facilities: How Today’s Developers Are Preparing for Tomorrow’s Commercial Success

Propelled by year after year of record-setting investments and regulatory approvals, cell and gene therapy (CGT) innovators are on track to revolutionize medicine by providing potential cures for many conditions. Now, CGT manufacturers must plan for a future beyond the production constraints of laboratories. What needs to happen now to prepare for a sustainable, commercially viable scale-up process in years to come? To answer that and other important questions about CGT production, my company, the CRB Group, surveyed more than…

Novel Technologies for Advancing Allogeneic Cell Therapies

In many ways, cells are the ultimate therapeutic product. They can integrate and participate in different biologic processes and replace missing biological functions. Cell therapies are dynamic, versatile, and with the appropriate engineering, capable of influencing and correcting disease processes robustly. Cell therapies essentially are living medicines, and their adaptability contrasts with conventional drug modalities that generally have only a single specific target or effect. Because cell therapies are highly complex modalities, their scientific and R&D challenges are different from…

Process Intelligence: Gene Therapy Case Study Shows That the Journey to Improved Capabilities Starts with One Step

The product development team at a gene therapy contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) was working on a high-priority drug-substance project for a key client. The material was crucial to that client’s early stage clinical trial, with an immediate value over US$500,000 to both the client and the CDMO. Unfortunately, the bioreactor used in the upstream process — a transfection unit operation for an adenoassociated virus (AAV) vector — had developed an intermittent problem that could force it to shut…

Partnerships Are Crucial to Getting Advanced Treatments to Market

New treatments and approaches for tackling serious diseases are being developed using cell and gene therapy (CGT). CGTs are adding a new dimension to the way patients with such conditions can be treated in modern healthcare. But these advanced treatments require complex research, development, and manufacturing processes. CGTs are related and to a degree interchangeable. However, gene therapies typically use some kind of genetic delivery system, (e.g., virus-based vectors) to treat a disease by replacing a malfunctioning gene or introducing…

Advancing Logistics for ATMP Manufacturing

Advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) hold much potential for improving healthcare. They offer hope for treating or even curing patients. The biopharmaceutical industry has recognized the importance of making such therapies accessible to as many people as possible. To provide personalized ATMPs, biomanufacturers are shifting toward flexible, patient-centered production processes. A Paradigm Shift in ATMP Manufacturing Ex vivo cell and gene therapies are particularly promising approaches to personalized regenerative medicine. Thus, it is no surprise that the numbers of US…