MAb

Simpler and More Efficient Viral Vaccine Manufacturing

Human and veterinary vaccines are divided into five main categories: conjugate, toxoid, subunit, inactivated (killed), and live (attenuated) vaccines (1). The vast majority of currently licensed human and veterinary vaccines are inactivated or live (2, 3). They are produced mostly using adherent cells: primary cells such as chicken embryo fibroblasts (CEF), human diploid cells such as MRC-5, or continuous cell lines such as Vero and MDCK (4). The pioneering legacy inherited by vaccine manufacturing development has led to strategies for…

A CMO Perspective on Quality Challenges for Biopharmaceuticals

    The global annual revenue for biopharmaceuticals has been growing consistently since 2001, accounting for 15.6% of the total pharmaceutical market in 2011. The global biopharmaceutical market was valued at US$138 billion in 2011 and is expected to surpass $320 billion by 2020 (1). The market for recombinant proteins now exceeds $100 billion, a milestone attained in 2011. Figure 1:  ()   Much of the growth in biopharmaceutical revenue is due to an increasing number and sales of recombinant…

Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine Made in Modular Facilities with Single-Use Technology

If current efforts to eradicate polioviruses worldwide are successful, then the oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) currently used for routine immunization in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) will be replaced by inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV). IPV will become the only option for such countries if they want to continue to vaccinate against polio (1). Because IPV is currently considered to be too expensive for use in LMICs, strategies are being undertaken to make IPV more affordable (2). Some experts estimate that…

Preparedness Ahead of Pandemic Outbreaks

Lively debate in 2012 concerned the risks and benefits of laboratory studies that created a contagious H5N1 avian pandemic influenza (flu) laboratory-strain virus. One benefit of the public debate is that it reminded governments of the increasingly likely and disastrous possibility of a devastating flu pandemic on the scale of the Spanish influenza outbreak of 1918. Natural evolution of circulating H5N1 viruses could lead to emergence of a deadly and contagious strain (1). Here we outline conventional flu vaccine options…

Protein A

The number of blockbuster monoclonal antibody (MAb) drugs continues to grow. In 2008, MAbs generated revenues in excess of US$15 billion (1), making them the highest-earning category of all biotherapeutics. The world MAb market will reach $62.3 billion in 2015, with next-generation therapeutic antibody revenues reaching $2.3 billion in 2015 according to Visiongain reports published in September and November 2011 (2, 3). Biosimilar antibodies will also begin to enter established markets as regulatory authorities clear approval pathways for them. Most…

Upstream Chemistry Analysis in Cell-Based Process Development

Cell line selection is important to any pharmaceutical company’s development pathway for biological compounds (1). In cell-line selection laboratories, many different, slightly variable cell lines are tested in parallel for desired characteristics. Candidate cell lines are chosen for further development on the basis of their performance in basic tests of critical quality attributes (CQAs). Historically, such cell lines were selected in large-volume containers because it was necessary to have sufficient volume in culture to allow repeated sampling without damaging the…

Automation of Microbioreactors

Current methodologies in genetics and microbiology enable researchers to influence metabolic pathways of microbial cells in many directions. Beside the academic interest in investigating fundamental functions in metabolic pathways, commercial production of valuable compounds by microbial hosts is state of the art. For example, such products include enzymes (lipases, proteases, phytases), therapeutic agents (insulin, antibodies), bulk chemicals (lysine, glutamate, citric acid), or the microbial cells themselves (used in brewing or milk processing), with therapeutic agents probably the fastest growing market.…

Moving Forward with a Gene Therapy for Damaged Hearts

A cocktail of three specific genes can reprogram cells in the scars caused by heart attacks into functioning muscle cells. Adding a gene that stimulates the growth of blood vessels enhances that effect, say researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College, Baylor College of Medicine, and Stony Brook University Medical Center in a report that appears online in the Journal of the American Heart Association (1). “The idea of reprogramming scar tissue in the heart into functioning heart muscle was exciting,”…

Drug Products for Biological Medicines

The California Separation Science Society (CASSS) held a Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) Strategy Forum on drug products for biological medicines in July 2012 in Bethesda, MD. Topics included novel delivery devices, challenging formulations, and combination products. This CMC Strategy Forum aimed to promote an understanding of how best to increase the speed and effectiveness of drug product and device development for both large and small companies. Participants focused on areas that improve the likelihood for regulatory success, reduce risk,…

In Vitro Functional Testing Methods for Monoclonal Antibody Biosimilars

The pressure to contain rising healthcare costs — combined with the number of innovator biologic drugs coming off patent (30 licensed biological drugs by 2015) — offers huge opportunities for developers of biosimilar products. In 2011, the global market size of the biosimilars industry was around US$2.5 billion. Global demand for such products — and monoclonal antibody (MAb) biosimilars, specifically — is estimated to grow at 8–17% from 2012 to 2016 (1). The advent of biosimilars should bring more affordable…