Emerging Therapeutics

eBook: Antibody–Drug Conjugates — Refining Product Designs for Improved Outcomes

Antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs) seek to partner the target specificity of antibodies with the cell-killing punch of chemotherapy drugs. Researchers identify antibodies that bind to proteins found predominantly or exclusively on the surfaces of cancer cells. The cells can absorb the ADC into their interiors, where the chemical environment or enzymes detach the drug from the antibody, freeing it to wreak havoc. Although nine ADCs have received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or European Medicines Agency (EMA) approval (and many…

eBook: Cancer Vaccines ⁠— Innovation Fuels an Immunotherapy Renaissance

Despite early successes a decade ago, cancer vaccines designed to deliver peptides or proteins — or nucleic acids encoding those antigens — generally have fizzled out since then. As a result, cancer vaccine development and the field of immunotherapy lost some traction overall. But as freelance contributor Jim Kling describes in this eBook, new innovations in product design, testing, and manufacturing are fueling a renaissance in cancer vaccine development. From checkpoint inhibitors to neoantigens, immune regulators, and beyond, companies are…

eBook: A Light-Chain Platform for Developing Bispecific Antibodies

Biopharmaceutical researchers are focusing on novel platforms to quickly develop bispecific antibody (BsAb) therapies for treating complex diseases such as cancer. BsAb therapies offer several advantages because they are designed to bind two unique epitopes. In this report, Bill Lundberg, president and chief executive officer at Merus, describes his company’s efficient approach to developing BsAbs using “common light chain” technology and other proprietary strategies. Lundberg also addresses the company’s approach to typical BsAb development and manufacturing challenges. Fill out the…

Discussions at Phacilitate 2020 on Business, Manufacturing, and Future Trends

Presenters in the three main program tracks at the Phacilitate Leaders World conference in Miami, FL, this past January represented sponsor-developers of cell/gene-therapy (CGT) products, contract service providers, and technology suppliers to the industry. Topics include process and product development strategies for advanced therapies, regulatory and inspector expectations, automation and closed-system processing, the choice between in-house and outsourced manufacturing, quality assurance and control, analytical methods, viral vectors, and artificial intelligence and Industry 4.0. At the end of each session, presenters…

The Technology of Tomorrow — Today

Sponsored by BioProcess International and its sister publication BioProcess Insider, the “Tech of Tomorrow Zone” at Phacilitate 2020 played host to a number of companies showcasing platforms and ideas that they believe can revolutionize cell and gene therapy (CGT) manufacturing. Some common themes arose in this diverse zone, highlighting technologies from stem-cell supply solutions to viral-vector filling. Participating companies are aware of the complexities involved in producing regenerative medicines, and each proposed solution was intended to reduce the burden on…

Fighting Alzheimer’s Disease with a Breakthrough Peptide

Even more so than cancer, Alzheimer’s disease is one disease that many people fear greatly. The thought of falling prey to the inevitable desecration of our own minds is something that makes even the bravest among us shudder. If we’re robbed of our sense of who we really are, we imagine, then we are doomed to live our last days without the dignity that defines us and that we hold most dear. The ultimate horror of the condition is that…

Setting a Cornerstone for Platform Purification of Exosomes

Exosomes are a subject of rapidly growing therapeutic interest in the biopharmaceutical industry for two principal reasons. The first reason is that they are the primary communicators of instructions from source cells to target cells. Exosome surface features define their destination. They recognize complementary features on target cells, dock with them, and deliver their programmed instructions in the form of microRNA. The second reason is that exosomes are immunologically silent. As normal human cell products, and by contrast with gene…

Scalable Manufacturing of Lentiviral Gene Therapies

Lysosomal storage diseases are caused by mutated genes that express defective lysosomal proteins, such as essential enzymes. For example, cystinosis is a metabolic disease caused by a defective gene that encodes cystinosin, an exporter protein (Figure 1). Avrobio develops gene therapies to treat lysosomal storage diseases. On 8 October 2019, the company announced that its first patient had been dosed in the AVR-RD-04 investigational gene therapy program, which involves genetic modification of the patient’s own hematopoietic stem cells to treat cystinosis.…

Improving Bioprocess Expression Systems: A Clean Alternative to CRISPR/Cas9

Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells have emerged as a robust platform for bioprocessing serving both early and late-stage biotherapeutic drug supply. However, these cells and other hosts (e.g., HEK293), can be optimized for even greater potential through advanced gene editing. For example, when the endogenous glutamine synthetase (GS) gene is knocked out in CHO cells, a sixfold increase in high-producing cell lines is achieved (1). In another study, CHO with annexin A2 (ANXA2) and cathepsin gene (CTSD) knockouts were introduced…

Bioengineering for “Benchtop Clinical Trials”

Animal studies can be poor predictors of human drug response. Species-specificity of organs is a concern especially for the heart. Many drugs that enter clinical trials will fail ultimately because of unexpected cardiotoxicity. Drug developers would love to mitigate such risks through in vitro human cardiac testing, but human heart biopsy materials and donor organs do not survive well in a laboratory setting. Breakthroughs with human stem cells offer an alternative. It is now possible to take a simple skin…