Analytical

A Case Study in Environmental Monitoring: Reviewing Incubation Times Upon Recovery of Microorganisms

Environmental monitoring (EM) remains an essential detection tool for cleanrooms within healthcare and pharmaceutical-manufacturing facilities. During monitoring, an agar growth medium is incubated at a specific temperature for a set time. There is no single approach to incubation. Researchers have performed several EM incubation studies, with results reflecting a diversity of practice. Typically, biomanufacturing sites either run selective monitoring sessions using single-incubation regimes with two different culture media, or they leverage a dual-incubation system using two temperature ranges with a…

Water-Proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy: Emerging Applications for Vaccine Quality Assessment

Liquid-formulation vaccines often require shipment and storage within a temperature-controlled supply chain (a cold chain) between manufacture and administration. Since 2020, mRNA vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 have received considerable attention for their extreme cold-chain specifications. For instance, Pfizer–BioNTech’s Comirnaty bivalent booster for adults and adolescents must be stored in specialized freezers set between –90 ď›°C and –60 ď›°C for as long as 18 months (1). Usually, however, vaccines are shipped and stored in conditions between 2 ď›°C and 8 ď›°C (the…

Opportunities in the Field of Host Cell Proteins — Part 4: The Future of Immunogenicity Prediction

Available literature abounds with case studies describing detection and identification of host cell proteins (HCPs) and other process-related impurities. In the previous installment of our review, we analyzed noteworthy studies, highlighting what they revealed about HCP immunogenicity and calling attention to topics that require further investigation. In this final installment of our four-part study, we focus on HCP risk assessment. We explore current and emerging strategies for immunogenicity prediction, then draw out key insights from the past 40 years of…

Real-Time, Data-Driven, and Predictive Modeling: Accelerating Digital Transformation in Drug Substance Commercial Manufacturing

Biopharmaceutical drug-substance (DS) manufacturing consists of several unit operations. Upstream production includes multiple steps in growing bacterial or mammalian cells in culture. Upstream activities are followed by a series of downstream processing units including chromatography and filtration steps for removing impurities and purifying a therapeutic molecule (1). All these operations are inherently complex because of the natural variability associated with growing living cells and the intricacy of purification techniques used for collecting biological products. The US Food and Drug Administration…

The State of Quality Risk Management in the Pharmaceutical Industry: Commentary on the Draft ICH Q9 Revision

The International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH) released a long-awaited draft revision of its Q9 guidance on quality risk management (QRM) for public consultation in December 2021 (1). First published in 2005, ICH Q9 has been instrumental in highlighting the importance of QRM in both the small- and large-molecule pharmaceutical industries. It was the first comprehensive guidance to explain how QRM could be used to identify, assess, and control risks to drug-product quality…

Investigation of HCP Enrichment During CGMP Scale-Up

On paper, scaling a bioprocess from a 10-L to a 100-L to a 2,000-L bioreactor may seem like a straightforward math problem that could be solved by software. In practice, however, the exercise relies on a complex set of biological, chemical, and engineering assumptions; on maintenance of healthy cell cultures; and on management of equipment and analytics while adjusting to each increase in scale (1). Process development and quality control groups need to monitor how scale-up might affect critical quality…

eBook: BPI Lab — Contemporary Approaches to Data and Organization

Laboratories provide essential support functions in biopharmaceutical development: from cell-line development through process validation, environmental monitoring, and preclinical analyses . . . to product characterization, formulation, and stability testing. Regulatory compliance is important across the gamut of such laboratory work. Modern companies are implementing lean concepts that facilitate organization and workflows in laboratory operations. And companies around the world can use the latest technology to ensure data integrity for their analytical results. Included herein are two articles that originally appeared…

Raman Spectrometric PAT Models: Successful Transfer from Minibioreactors to Larger-Scale, Stirred-Tank Bioreactors

Spectroscopic sensors are powerful tools for bioprocess monitoring within the process analytical technology (PAT) initiative of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The PAT framework includes process understanding based on scientific background with the aim of monitoring and controlling critical process parameters (CPPs) that influence critical quality attributes (CQAs) of final biological products. The driving force for PAT implementation is a need to realize consistent product quality, process intensification, and real-time manufacturing control (1, 2). Using real-time spectroscopic measurements…

Certified Reference Mixtures in Extractables Screening of Polymeric Materials: For Container–Closure Systems and Single-Use Equipment

Plastics have been used for decades in container–closure systems (CCS) for drugs and in single-use (SU) manufacturing equipment for biopharmaceutical processing. Biomanufacturers must comply with national and international laws and regulations that require proof that use of such polymeric materials is safe (1, 2). That necessitates testing for potential biological responses and interactions with drug substances. Comprehensive extractables and leachables (E&L) studies also are required for potential release of undesired compounds from polymers. Extractables tests are performed on materials under…

eBook: Potency Bioassays — Development, Trending, Transfer, and Automation

Bioassay development is a complex process that must be undertaken with great rigor and attention to detail. Potency testing experts use a range of methods including cell-based and binding assays. Consistency and reliability of results over time are paramount. Well-developed and -characterized methods are the end result of much phase-appropriate development work that goes on in parallel with bioprocess and biotherapeutic product development. This eBook begins with BPI senior technical editor Cheryl Scott’s report from the Biopharmaceutical Emerging Best Practices…