Analytical

Improving Cell Manufacturing Outcomes Using In-Line Biomarker Monitoring

Cell-based advanced therapies are changing modern medicine dramatically. Immunotherapies such as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies are treating different forms of cancer. Gene therapies are reversing the course of inherited diseases, and tissue-engineered medical products are restoring, maintaining, and replacing damaged organs (1–4). The development of new advanced therapies is booming. As of January 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reported more than 900 investigational new drug (IND) applications for cell and gene therapy products. However,…

Using Prior Knowledge to Estimate Long-Term Variation

A reasonable estimate of long-term variation for a biopharmaceutical product critical quality attribute (CQA) can be challenging to justify, especially in the early stages of a product’s lifecycle when only limited data are available. However, if the combination of product and analytical method reasonably can be matched with historical data, prior knowledge can provide an estimate of a value. This variation estimate could be used to assist in risk assessments related to continued process verification (CPV) activities, including control charting…

Advanced Analytics to Accelerate Development of Genetic Vaccines

Biopharmaceutical companies are racing to develop vaccines that mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic, taking a wide range of vaccine-development approaches that include traditional modalities and cutting-edge technologies based on DNA and RNA. Vaccine developers are leveraging robust manufacturing concepts and integrated processes to shorten timelines. Advanced analytics also are playing a critical role in ensuring the safety and efficacy of those emerging vaccines. A New Wave of Vaccines Vaccines based on attenuated viruses entail development timelines ranging from four years to…

A Universal Assay Determination Method for Antisense Oligonucleotides: A New Slope Spectroscopy Method

Antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) are short, synthetic, single-stranded oligodeoxynucleotides that can alter RNA and reduce, restore, or modify protein expression through several distinct mechanisms. ASO technology has become an important drug discovery platform for most major pharmaceutical companies. To date, six antisense drugs have been approved by regulatory agencies to treat diseases spanning viral infections, hyperlipidemias, and neurological diseases. More than 50 additional ASO drugs are in clinical trials. For an ASO drug product, an assay of its active pharmaceutical ingredient…

eBook: Biomarkers — Improving Clinical Studies to Enhance Commercial Success for Biologics

The biopharmaceutical industry continues to invest heavily in technologies for identification of predictive biomarkers. Drug developers want not only to find quantitative evidence that their therapies will work as designed, but also to anticipate which patient populations will respond positively to those regimens. Doing that could streamline clinical trials, accelerate approvals, and ultimately improve patient outcomes. Advances in next-generation sequencing and increases in computational capability now are facilitating biomarker inquiries, especially in the realm of immunooncology. However, predictive biomarkers remain…

Making Safe and Effective CAR T Cells: How Droplet Digital PCR Can Improve Their Quality Control

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells first entered US clinics in 2017 (1), and this therapeutic modality holds tremendous potential as one of the most effective forms of personalized cancer care ever to reach patients. The revolutionary impact of CAR T-cell therapy comes from its ability to rewire our own immune defenses to kill cancer cells: It essentially modifies a patient’s naturally existing immune cells to boost their recognition and attack of cancer cells so that the person’s own immune system…

Analytical Support for Biologics: A Conversation with Almac Sciences

Almac Sciences (a member of the Almac Group) recently expanded its suite of analytical solutions to include biologics testing. This follows a 2019 expansion of the company’s facility in Athlone, Ireland, where it provides a comprehensive range of flexible pharmaceutical testing services to support drug development programs adhering to industry regulations and good manufacturing practice (GMP) standards. “Biologics have gained huge traction in the past decade and are poised for stronger growth in the coming years with potential to significantly…

Ultrasonic Flow and Bubble Sensors: Optimize Process Quality in Single-Use Bioprocessing Applications

Process monitoring in laboratory and production environments enables continuous control and optimization of critical process parameters. Hence, the early detection of errors is an effective means of increasing process efficiency and reproducibility, improving quality and safety parameters, and reducing long-term costs. Highly precise and flexible noncontact clamp-on flow and bubble sensors are useful instruments to fulfill these goals. They can be applied effectively to buffer and media preparation, chromatography and filtration systems, bioreactors and fermentors, feed and transfer lines, and…

Ultracentrifugation for Recombinant Adenoassociated Virus Therapies

Quantitation of different capsid species in viral-vector gene-delivery drugs, including recombinant adenoassociated virus (AAV) therapies, is essential for proper assessment of critical quality attributes before regulatory approval and during commercial production. If rAAV full-capsid percentages are maximized, and variants such as empty or partially-filled capsids are reduced as much as possible, then potency is increased for improved dosing and tolerance outcomes. Traditionally, characterization of AAV purity with respect to empty, full, and other variants has been performed by techniques such…

Quality Risk Management for Filter Integrity Testing: Compliance with EMA’s Future Annex 1

Quality risk management (QRM) is a systematic process for assessment, control, communication, and review of risks to the quality of a pharmaceutical product across its lifecycle. Although QRM is not new (1), the regulatory focus on QRM will increase with the arrival of the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA’s) Annex 1 (2), which was reviewed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Pharmaceutical Inspection Convention Scheme (PIC/S). Integrity testing of sterilizing-grade filters is…