Regulations

EU thumbs up for Biocon biosimilar insulin plant

A Biocon insulin production site in Malaysia, the subject of a recent US FDA Form 483, has received a Certificate of GMP compliance from the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Ireland’s Health Products Regulatory Authority inspected the facility in Malaysia in May this year resulting in the issuing of the certificate, meaning the insulin drug substance, drug product and delivery devices made there comply with the EMA’s good manufacturing practice (GMP) guidelines. “The recombinant human Insulin (rh-Insulin) and Insulin Glargine manufactured…

FDA and NIIMBL partner to advanced biomanufacturing innovation

The US FDA has expanded its partnership with NIIMBL to strengthen biomanufacturing through innovations such as 3D printing and continuous manufacturing. The National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) launched in March 2017 to accelerate innovation in biopharmaceutical manufacturing and support the development of standards to drive more efficient and rapid manufacturing capabilities. Institute Director, Kelvin Lee told Bioprocess Insider the institute is already working with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a variety of contexts –…

Pro-biosimilar policies will not ignite US market, Amgen

Amgen says the US needs a vibrant competitive biologics market but must avoid policies that tilt the playing field in favor of biosimilar makers. Biosimilars made an initial mark in the US when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Sandoz’s Zarxio (filgrastim) in 2015. But in the proceeding four years, the sector has somewhat stalled – despite 22 more approvals – amid ongoing political debate, legal complexities and pricing/reimbursement. The idea of Congress addressing drug pricing and patent issues,…

FDA and Novartis back Zolgensma amid data manipulation issues

The US FDA remains confident that Zolgensma will not be pulled after being alerted to allegations of data manipulation by the gene therapy manufacturer AveXis. In May 2019, Novartis company AveXis received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its $2.1 million single-dose, one-time gene therapy Zolgensma (onasemnogene abeparvovec) to treat children less than two years of age with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). A month later, AveXis informed the Agency “about a data manipulation issue that impacts the accuracy…

Alexion on track with FcRn antibody after manufacturing hitch

After inheriting an impurity in the drug product of early-phase antibody ALXN1830, Alexion Pharmaceuticals says new batches will be available by the end of the year. In November 2018, Alexion Pharmaceuticals acquired Syntimmune in a deal worth up to $1.2 billion, adding ALXN1830, a clinical-stage humanized monoclonal antibody that inhibits the interaction of neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) in trials for warm autoimmune hemolytic anemia (WAIHA) and generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG). But earlier this year, the firm discovered an issue in…

Single-use techs are garbage, eventually, and that’s great for biopharma

Biopharma is starting to use single-use technologies more widely but understanding the pros and cons is vital say experts. The key characteristic of any single-use technology is its disposability. Being able to throw away rather than clean equipment after use is a major benefit. Cleaning a stainless steel system takes time and money says Andrew Sinclair, founder of Biopharm Services. “Cleaning a typical stainless steel system can be complex as the equipment and associated pipework needs to be cleaned together…

Biocon going digital to fix insulin plant hit with another FDA 483

Adopting a digital-based Quality Management System will help Biocon remediate issues at its insulin glargine facility in Malaysia, the firm says. An inspection by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) between June 24 and July 5 has resulted in a Form 483 with 12 observations at Indian drugmaker Biocon’s facility in Malaysia. The drug product and drug substance site will produce a follow-on insulin glargine referencing Sanofi’s Lantus intended for the US market. “We believe these 12 observations across…

Bluebird’s gene therapy latest to feel ‘inevitable’ teething problems

Bluebird Bio’s $1.8 million gene therapy Zynteglo is the latest such therapy to suffer from manufacturing issues, causing a delay to its EU launch. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved orphan drug Zynteglo (autologous CD34+ cells encoding βA-T87Q-globin gene) – previously known as LentiGlobin – as a one-off treatment for beta-thalassaemia in June. Developer Bluebird Bio has priced the therapy at €1.58 million ($1.8 million). However, a setback due to manufacturing problems means Bluebird is delaying launch to at least…

Henlius’ trastuzumab: EU to assess first China-made biosimilar

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has accepted to review a version of Roche’s cancer drug Herceptin (trastuzumab) developed by Chinese biotech Henlius. The European agency has officially accepted to review the Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) of Shanghai, Henlius’ trastuzumab molecule HLX02, making it he first biosimilar developed and made in China to be up for review. Scott Liu, co-founder and CEO at Henlius, said the review “shows that our clinical, medical, regulatory affairs and quality system capabilities have been internationally…

Vaccines the ‘backwaters of the pharma industry’ due to low price expectation

Historic low prices and the fact they are administered to healthy people means vaccine development plays second fiddle to biologics, according to a panel of experts. At the BPI West event in Santa Clara, California earlier this year, Rahul Singhyi, COO of Takeda vaccines, told delegates that vaccines used to be viewed as “the backwaters of the pharma industry.” Fast forward several months to the BPI Europe event in Vienna, Austria, and Bioprocess Insider asked four more experts within the…