Cell/Gene Therapies

Taking a Distinctive Path Reflections on the History of Gene Therapy Development

For the past 20 years, I’ve been a committed and interested partner to developers of cell and gene therapies (CGTs). I’ve participated in the highs and lows of the industry. Initially, we looked to the development of monoclonal antibody (MAb) therapeutics for a roadmap to anticipate what would occur in the CGT field. It was thought that manufacturing processes would consolidate upon a single “winning” platform process and that both scale and productivity would be increased primarily by focusing on…

Transfection: Past, Present, and Future

The science behind transfection spans from calcium phosphate precipitation to newer methods that are easier to perform, more efficient, and consistent. Mirus Bio strives to perfect gene delivery to cells in culture and support different applications within the life sciences community. The company’s capabilities include RNA interference (RNAi), clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR), and viral vector development for cell and gene therapies with the launch of TransIT-VirusGEN GMP transfection reagent and kits for supporting clinical and commercial adenoassociated…

Small Samples, Big Discoveries: Characterizing AAV Aggregates at Low Volumes and Identifying Their Root Causes

Gene therapies that use AAVs have shown great promise, but can be unstable due to their fragile composite DNA/protein nature, which presents an analytical challenge when determining root cause of subvisible particle (SVP) formation and product instability. Understanding how these proteins interact with leaked payloads will allow better insight into avoiding aggregate buildup. Yet, this has been difficult, hampered by legacy systems that cannot conduct low volume SVP analysis or interrogate for DNA content. That’s about to change. In one…

eBook: Factors Affecting Scalability of Cell Therapies

The number of cell and gene therapies in different phases of development is increasing. The industry currently needs to increase commercial good manufacturing practice (GMP) capacity to keep up with current and future demands. Cell and gene therapy scale-up from clinical to commercial capacity levels can reduce cost of goods and thus price per dose.  An optimized bioprocess facilitates scale-up from hundreds (clinical scale) to thousands of doses (commercial scale). Different approaches for increasing scale can be taken. For example,…

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…