Analytical

Cellular Communications

Like spectroscopy, as discussed in BPI Lab last month (1), cell signaling is not a laboratory technique but rather an area of scientific study. The environment of living cells — whether prokaryotic or eukaryotic, in vitro or in vivo — comprises not only water, nutrients, waste products, and metabolites, but also molecules released by other cells in response to intracellular events such as microbial infection and disease state or environmental factors such as temperature, osmolality, and pH. Receptor proteins on…

Development of Protein Capsular Matrix Vaccine Platform Technology

Polysaccharide vaccines account for about 30% of the total >$20-billion/year vaccine market. Despite efficacious vaccines in the field, diseases such as invasive Streptococcus pneumoniae and typhoid fever persist. Development of multivalent polysaccharide conjugate vaccines requires complex chemistries and multiple, expensive good manufacturing practice (GMP) process steps. Matrivax Research and Development Corporation is developing a protein capsular matrix vaccine (PCMV) technology that simplifies synthesis of polysaccharide vaccines with fewer process steps than are required by typical conjugation vaccine processes. Polysaccharide Vaccine…

Emerging Challenges to Protein A

Protein A affinity chromatography has been a target for replacement since its commercial debut, mainly because of its high acquisition cost. The technique became established despite the cost because it was born into an industrial culture that favored speed to market over manufacturing economy (1). Vendors have since strengthened protein A’s position with incremental but worthy improvements such as higher capacity, lower ligand leaching, and modest tolerance of NaOH. Collateral improvements in polishing technologies, such as the high throughput and…

An Industry–Academia Partnership

GE Healthcare Life Sciences recently launched a joint program with Osaka University to support future growth of the biopharmaceutical sector in Japan. Together, they offer students access to GE Healthcare’s expertise in training and technologies for bioprocess research and manufacturing. The program is funded by Osaka University as part of its “Interdisciplinary Program for Biomedical Sciences” (IPBS), a government-funded commitment to graduate education. The goal of IPBS is to educate young scientists to undertake global-scale collaborations to develop effective treatments…

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),…

Simpler and More Efficient Viral Vaccine Manufacturing

Human and veterinary vaccines are divided into five main categories: conjugate, toxoid, subunit, inactivated (killed), and live (attenuated) vaccines (1). The vast majority of currently licensed human and veterinary vaccines are inactivated or live (2, 3). They are produced mostly using adherent cells: primary cells such as chicken embryo fibroblasts (CEF), human diploid cells such as MRC-5, or continuous cell lines such as Vero and MDCK (4). The pioneering legacy inherited by vaccine manufacturing development has led to strategies for…

Enlightening Results

Separating spectroscopy from spectrometry is not as straightforward as it might seem. Spectroscopy is the science of the interactions between matter and radiated energy, and spectrometry is the technology that applies that science (1). The former generates no results on its own. It is concerned with spectra produced when matter interacts with or emits electromagnetic radiation, including all methods of producing and analyzing light spectra using spectroscopes, spectrographs, spectrometers, and spectrophotometers. The distinction should come from the meanings of the…

NIR Spectroscopy for Process Monitoring and Control in Mammalian Cell Cultivation

The quality by design (QbD) and process analytical technology (PAT) approaches have shown significant benefit in the classical pharmaceutical industry and are now strongly influencing bioprocessing. Monitoring critical process parameters (CPPs) during biotechnological cell cultivations is essential to maintaining high efficiencies and quality. Commercial sensor systems for real-time inline monitoring are available for some parameters, such as pH or the concentration of dissolved oxygen (DO). For others such as glucose concentration, total cell count (TCC), and viability no robust online…

Enhanced 2-D Electrophoresis and Western Blotting Workflow for Reliable Evaluations of Anti-HCP Antibodies

Biologic drugs are subject to unique regulatory and technical requirements because of their origin and expression in genetically engineered host cells, as well as their underlying physicochemical properties and elaborate purification processes. One such requirement is the accurate monitoring and effective removal of process-derived impurities such as host-cell proteins (HCPs) and DNA/RNA, viruses, cell culture media, chromatographic leachates, and so on (1). Of those impurities, HCPs are perhaps the most challenging to accurately monitor. Each expression system’s proteome consists of…

Upstream Chemistry Analysis in Cell-Based Process Development

Cell line selection is important to any pharmaceutical company’s development pathway for biological compounds (1). In cell-line selection laboratories, many different, slightly variable cell lines are tested in parallel for desired characteristics. Candidate cell lines are chosen for further development on the basis of their performance in basic tests of critical quality attributes (CQAs). Historically, such cell lines were selected in large-volume containers because it was necessary to have sufficient volume in culture to allow repeated sampling without damaging the…