Emerging Therapeutics

Chromatography in mRNA Production Workflow

Rapid response to global pandemics requires the manufacture of billions of vaccine doses within months. This short timeline must allow for design and testing of active ingredients, development of production and purification processes, clinical evaluations, regulatory filings, and manufacturing. Existing purification methods often have been adopted from laboratory-scale techniques to allow rapid implementation, and those have provided adequate product quality. But future mRNA development will require optimized production and purification processes. Chromatography has been a workhorse of biomanufacturing for decades,…

eBook: Rare Diseases — Biopharmaceutical Challenges Presented By Relatively Small Patient Populations

By definition, an orphan disease affects a small percentage of the population. However, with some 7,000 such conditions identified so far, they collectively have a significant impact on global health. An estimated 350 million people are affected worldwide by a rare disease — altogether more than the population of the world’s third largest country (the United States). Some well-known biopharmaceutical companies are devoted to developing treatments for rare diseases. However, the vast majority of such diseases have no treatments approved by…

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…

eBook: Bispecific Antibodies — Their Development and Manufacture As Therapeutics

Generating antibodies with two or more specificities is one of the most innovative fields in therapeutic antibody development, with tremendous potential for use in creating new treatments for patients with unmet medical needs. In particular, bispecific antibody development is stimulating innovations in bioprocessing techniques from expression through upstream processing and candidate purification. Wherever possible, process-development scientists and engineers are borrowing techniques that were honed for mature monoclonal antibody (MAb) platforms, then applying those to bispecific antibody manufacturing. Nevertheless, the unique…

New Antibody Formats on the Block:
More Complex Modalities Demand Innovation in Manufacturing and Purification

Some of the latest, most promising therapeutic developments in the biologics industry use antibody fragments — either separate functional subunits of antibodies or recombinant molecules that are composed of immunoglobulin domains. The most popular fragments are antigen-binding fragments (Fabs), variable single-chain fragments (scFvs), diabodies, and nanobodies. Such molecules raise several advantages over their parent molecules for upstream production but pose several challenges for downstream purification. To facilitate antibody-fragment capture, Tosoh Bioscience has developed Toyopearl AF-rProtein L-650F resin. Its ligand uses…

Ligand-Based Exosome Affinity Purification: A Scalable Solution to Extracellular Vesicle Downstream Bottlenecks

Novel therapeutics based on extracellular vesicles (EVs) recently passed a critical development milestone. During 2020, some of the first experimental EV products developed by biopharmaceutical companies entered human clinical trials (1–3). EVs are nanometer-sized, lipid-wrapped spheres released by almost every cell type in the human body. EVs are loaded with a cargo of proteins, lipids, and RNA, and they are tagged with surface markers that favor uptake by target cells. Thus, EVs are a key mode of cell-to-cell communication (4).…

Eliminating the Analytical Bottleneck in Production and Purification of mRNA

COVID-19 has focused a spotlight on the ability of mRNA technology to accelerate vaccine development and approval (1). That same technology can hasten development and approval of other therapeutic classes, including cancer immunotherapy, protein replacement, and gene therapy. Fulfilling those opportunities imposes significant challenges on process developers and manufacturers to improve existing processes. Scale-up to produce millions of doses (tens of kilograms) compounds those challenges. Furthermore, every step of the journey requires high-performance analytical methods, to ensure patient safety and…

Space Travel Rockets Mitochondria’s Central Role into the Spotlight

Mitochondria originated millions of years ago, likely when a eukaryotic cell incorporated a bacterium. Thus, mitochondrial DNA strands are 200,000× smaller than those from a cell’s nucleus. Depending on cell type, thousands of mitochondria can reside within the walls of one human cell. The scientific community long has considered these organelles to be cellular “energy factories.” But their centrality to human health and disease only now has come to light. In a breakthrough study published in Cell (1), biologists collaborated…

Cell-Free Expression: A Technology with Truly Disruptive Potential

Bioprocess engineer Beatrice Melinek is a postdoctoral research fellow at University College London’s Future Targeted Healthcare Manufacturing (FTHM) Hub, where she focuses on the use of cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) as a platform for distributed production of stratified biotherapeutics. Previously Melinek specialized in purification of viral vectors and vaccines, with an engineering doctorate (EngD) in biochemical engineering and postdoctoral experience in UCL’s hematology department developing a new chromatography-based analytical method for measuring empty and full adenoassociated virus (AAV) capsids. She…

eBook: ADCs — Evolving Links in the Biopharmaceutical Pipeline

Antibody–drug conjugate (ADC) developers both old and new are talking about the next generation of drug candidates coming through their pipelines. In April 2021, Zynlonta (loncastuximab tesirine, from ADC Therapeutics) became the eleventh such product to receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But with dozens of ADC candidates currently in clinical trials, those 11 products represent the tip of the ADC iceberg. In this eBook, Dan Stanton (founding editor of BioProcess Insider) explores ADC production history,…