Supply Chain

Standardization of Disposables Design: The Path Forward for a Potential Game Changer

Recent articles have described how the debate on standardization is slowing down adoption of single-use technology (1). The Standardized Disposables Design (SDD) initiative is working to design simple standard single-use solutions for real-life examples (e.g., buffer bags). In reality, a buffer is a buffer whether it is made in Europe, Asia, or America, so in essence different solutions are not necessary for different end users. A buffer bag is not difficult to design, and it does not vary greatly in…

A Risk-Based Approach to Supplier and Raw Materials Management

Ensuring a continuous supply of safe medicines is a key objective for the pharmaceutical industry and health authorities alike. A critical component to that end is maintaining a reliable supply of qualified raw materials (RMs) used in drug production. However, changes in suppliers, their processes, their providers, and consequently the materials they supply can occur (for a number of reasons) at any time during the life cycle of drug production. A product-supply organization therefore must be prepared to address such…

The Cell Therapy Supply Chain: Logistical Considerations for Autologous Immunotherapies

Among the basics of building a successful logistics strategy for the management of cell-based material, some better-known and important factors to consider include selecting the right dry-shipping unit, qualifying that container for a particular payload and shipping configuration, choosing an appropriate data logger, creating a chain of custody, evaluating a transit carrier, and anticipating potential problems inherent in shipping at cryogenic temperatures (1). Here, I’d like to go beyond those basics to address some lesser-known considerations. These factors may be…

Bioreactor Design for Adherent Cell Culture: The Bolt-On Bioreactor Project, Part 4 — Process Economics

The Bolt-on Bioreactor (BoB) project is an independent initiative developing and commercializing a bioreactor for efficient, automated culture of adherent cells for biopharmaceutical applications (1). After conducting thorough research on available culture systems for adherent cells, the BoB team believes that a successful alternative to existing devices must solve four major challenges: volumetric productivity (2), process automation (3), containment and sterility (4), and process economics. This month concludes a four-part series addressing each of those challenges while describing design features…

Exploring Options for Dual Sourcing of Single-Use Components

As the bioprocess industry progressively adopts single-use technologies for large-scale manufacturing (1, 2), biomanufacturers’ increased reliance on integrators for critical production equipment continues to raise concerns about supply chain security. The need to mitigate risks associated with the supply of single-use components (e.g., bioreactors, aseptic connectors, tubing, filters) has led to growing interest in the dual sourcing of those materials. To that end, integrators and end users alike are exploring the definition of functionally equivalent products, how functional equivalency can…

Shrink Your Inventory Costs And Make Your Staff Happier

Shire’s process development department recently overhauled its inventory control system. The result was a projected five-year net benefit of over US$1.5 million and an immediate increase in its scientists’ productivity and satisfaction. Hiding in Plain Sight We asked one of our scientists why he kept 12 cases of gloves on his laboratory bench. “I use a lot of them,” he told us. “I don’t want to run out.” When asked how long his supply would last, he replied, “I don’t know.…

Creating Value Through Investment

During my MBA course, Professor Pierre Casse — then at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland — regularly reminded us that one key to success was constantly finding new ways to “delight and inspire your clients” by creating value. SAFC achieved that objective in its “Overcoming Supply Chain Vulnerability and Lowering Risk in Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing” symposium 17–18th June 2014 in Turnberry, Scotland. Along with a day of industry insight, the event included a visit and tour…

Trends in Setting Single-Use Technology Standards

The biopharmaceutical industry now incorporates single-use (SU) technology and systems in most production processes based on cell culture (1, 2). Implementation of such technologies has led to the availability of prepackaged and sterilized systems complete and ready for use with preinstalled mixers and monitoring probes. From upstream process- material preparation through final-product formulation, biopharmaceutical sponsors are increasingly presented with numerous SU solutions that support all major production platforms (3–5). The number of SU materials and suppliers in biopharmaceutical manufacturing has…

Enhanced Assurance of Supply for Single-Use Bags: Based on Material Science, Quality By Design, and Partnership with Suppliers

Growing adoption of single-use bags in commercial production of biopharmaceutical drugs raises new challenges for bag suppliers and drives the need for consistent product quality, improved assurance of supply, robust change management, and business continuity planning. In close collaboration with resin and film suppliers, polymer scientists and biologists at Sartorius Stedim Biotech have followed a stringent material science and quality by design (QbD) program to develop a completely new polyethylene film and to achieve consistent performance of new Flexsafe bags…

A Critical Mission: Clinical Trial Material Storage and Distribution

As if manufacturing of investigational medicinal products (IMPs) weren’t challenging enough already, the appropriate storage and distribution of sensitive biological products can be an adventurous journey itself — especially if not carefully planned and managed. No one solution fits all situations. Many things must be evaluated during planning stages. For example, what is more important: time to delivery or quality of transport and product integrity until drug can be administered to a patient? It is important to understand key storage…