Supply Chain

Tsunami - Japan 2011

Supply Chain Challenges in the Biopharmaceutical Industry: A Case Study Following the 2011 Tsunami in Japan

Global manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals for human use helps save the lives of millions of people and is a large commitment to public health. The industry operates in an environment with financial uncertainties and complex international supply chains, so the question of risk mitigation is paramount. There is an expectation that comprehensive risk mitigation programs should be in place to minimize the risk of supply chain interruptions that would negatively affect the manufacture of these vital therapeutics. Here we share how…

Managing Contract Relationships with Quality Agreements: Keeping in Mind the New FDA Guidance

Using contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs) to augment your supply chain is not a new phenomenon in the pharmaceutical industry. One of my first projects in industry involved developing a process for a recombinant protein while manufacturing materials for clinical trials. My team recognized that the company did not have the money to build a plant for manufacturing an unproven product, and it was not bullish to the risk of investing, so we turned to a contract manufacturer in Austria. That…

Powders and Bulk Liquids

    The two major bioprocess fluids — culture media for upstream production and buffers for downstream processing — are classic single-use products. They are used once and then disposed of. The two basic options for both differ by physical state: powdered media and buffers (“powders” for in-house preparation of liquids by end users) and bulk liquid culture media and buffers, which are fully prepared by their suppliers (“liquids”). We conducted market research studies comparing the benefits and risks (value…

Cell Therapy Bioprocessing Technologies and Indicators of Technological Convergence

The cell therapy industry is undergoing a natural evolution from scientific curiosity into a commercially and clinically attractive opportunity (1). This evolution is by no means complete, and growing evidence suggests that its progression is driving significant developments in cell therapy bioprocessing — notably, convergence. Table 1:&#8 194; () Progressively, bioprocessing technologies primarily used in production of noncell-based products are being evaluated for cell therapy bioprocessing applications (2). Consequently, this process of convergence is leading to an increasing proportion of…

Innovation in Biopharmaceutical Manufacture

The following is a report from a workshop on innovation in biopharmaceutical manufacturing held at the Annual bioProcessUK Conference in Bristol on 29 November 2012. The aim of the workshop was to access the experience of practitioners in the United Kingdom so as to understand better the challenges and opportunities for innovation in this sector. The workshop addressed the drivers that influence the implementation of process improvements and novel technologies in biopharmaceutical manufacture from the perspective of both manufacturers and…

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…

Container–Closure Integrity

An increasing number of biopharmaceuticals — including vaccines, stem cells, and proteins — require cold storage to maintain efficacy before use. However, the ability to maintain container–closure integrity (CCI) during cold storage is not completely understood. Concerns about CCI failure have been raised for storage and shipment of such products in rubber-stoppered vials under cold conditions (e.g., −80 °C or on dry ice). Commonly used butyl stoppers are believed to lose their elastic properties below their glass transition temperature (Tg),…

Biologics Have a Robust Pipeline

Earlier this year, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) released a report titled 2013 Report: Medicines in Development – Biologics. It lists 907 biologics currently in development at “America’s biopharmaceutical research companies.” The list includes biologics targeting more than 100 diseases that either are currently in human clinical trials or are under review by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Of those 907 product candidates, the most common types are monoclonal antibodies (MAbs, 338), vaccines (250), and…

Risk Assessment and Business Impact Analysis of the Supply Chain

In the United States, up to 40% of businesses affected by a natural or human-caused disaster never reopen (1). The biopharmaceutical industry is not immune from disasters of a dizzying variety. But biotechnology companies often put all their supply needs in one proverbial basket. Companies need to understand fully the ramifications of contingency planning for single product lines. Imagine having to set up distribution and shipping plans for multiple products with different environmental needs, for shipping to different markets, and…