Special Reports

The Time Has Come for Automation in Bioprocessing

    As early as 1997, automation was ready to offer potential benefits to the bioprocess industry (1). Professor Bernhard Sonnleitner of the Zürich University of Applied Sciences’ Institute for Chemistry and Biological Chemistry suggested a “standard operating procedure” and pointed to the opportunities, requirements, and potential pitfalls of applying the principles of automation to bioprocess development and operations. If “boring and less interesting routine tasks” could “more efficiently and reliably be handed down to machines,” he explained, then personnel…

Single-Use Strategies in Bioprocessing

BioProcess International has followed, from the beginning, the ways in which single-use technologies have transformed the landscape of industrial bioprocessing. On 18 March 2009, we organized a panel session at the annual Interphex conference (Jacob Javitz Center, NYC) to drive discussion toward longer-term implications of single-use components and technologies on the future of bioprocessing. Is their use a cost-saving strategy overall? What economic factors are driving their adoption? The panelists were prepared to address such topics as economic considerations in…

2008 in Review

As the Chinese calendar warned us, it did indeed turn out to be a year of the rat. If you‘re in any doubt about the economic crisis of 2008, here’s a single significant indicator: Pharmaceutical companies’ spending on advertising declined this year for the first time in history. Walgreen’s CEO Jeffrey Rein was quoted in FierceBiotech as calling 2008 “the tightest market for prescription drugs” in his 27-year career. If big pharma and big retail were feeling the pain, of…

Proactive Debottlenecking

It wasn’t so long ago that people in the biotherapeutics industry talked about a “capacity bottleneck” to describe the difficulty faced by bioprocessors as their many products moved forth through development to require production at larger and larger scales (1). Expression technologies at the time were making proteins at levels suggesting that huge amounts of manufacturing capacity would be needed soon. Just after the turn of the century, product titers (in terms of protein present per liter of culture broth/supernatant)…

From Pandemics to Bioterrorism

On 28 March 2008, BioProcess International hosted a panel discussion at the annual INTERPHEX conference (26–28 March 2008 in Philadelphia, PA), titled “From Pandemics to Bioterrorism: The Role of Bio-Manufacturing in Global Healthcare.” The discussion format grew out of a series of conversations over several months involving the panel members, INTERPHEX organizers, and BPI’s editor in chief (all participants are listed on the previous page). The group started with the premise that the biotechnology industry has a vital role to…

Moving On in Cell Culture

Record-breaking titer outputs in mammalian cell culture systems in the past few years have pushed the industry to a new crisis of sorts: resolving the downstream bottleneck. However, the cell culture and fermentation groups at biopharmaceutical companies aren’t yet ready to sit back and rest on their laurels. Instead, they are moving forward, tackling the downstream issue with upstream modifications and continuing their drive for more cost-efficient processing. The Cell Culture and Upstream Processing track will focus on cell culture…

Cutting Down Process Time and Costs

Because the biopharmaceutical industry operates as an industry rather than a nonprofit, the bottom line is an important consideration in every aspect of product design. From laboratory automation methods that speed discovery to streamlined manufacturing processes that incorporate the themes of operational excellence, Lean manufacturing, and quality by design, the industry is undeniably focused on minimizing cost and maximizing revenue. At the BioProcess International European Conference and Exhibition, the Scale-Up and Manufacturing track will focus on economic strategy and technology…

Tackling Formulation and Delivery

The final hurdle in getting a product to market is the formulation and fill–finish step in process development. By their nature, protein therapeutics are more fragile and require a great deal of work to achieve product stability in final formulations. A cell line can be highly productive and efficient in protein production, but if you can’t stabilize the resulting protein and deliver it to patients intact, that’s a costly and useless exercise. The Formulation and Drug Delivery track of the…

Austria Welcomes BioProcessors

When it comes to agriculture, the people of Austria are among the most dead-set against so-called “genetically modified organisms” of any population in Europe (1). But as is so often the case elsewhere, their attitude toward biotechnology used in medicine is much more friendly. This may have to do with the country’s traditional strength in environmental biotech (ranging from wastewater treatment and organic waste composting to anaerobic digestion for biogas generation) and also food biotechnology. That is the suggestion of…

Anything But Chromatography?

In 2006 a new term was coined that is now all too familiar in the industry: downstream bottleneck. With observations of a slow cycle of downstream process improvements indicating potential solutions in the next five years, downstream processing is a very hot topic at conferences and in publications. Thus, the Recovery and Purification track will be highly focused on this pertinent and timely issue. Beyond discussing the bottleneck itself head-on in the opening sessions, the track will focus on alternatives…