Business

Development Strategies for Novel Vaccines for Infectious Diseases

In a vaccine development program, the probability of success at each transition decreases, even though the actual probability of moving from one phase to another can be 50–80% (Figure 1). Many compounds and vaccine candidates are screened out even before they get into preclinical studies. Developers can implement different approaches to reduce product failure risk before a program gets expensive, including Establishing a product development plan (PDP) Identifying and mitigating risk with gap analysis Learning from the mistakes of others…

Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine Made in Modular Facilities with Single-Use Technology

If current efforts to eradicate polioviruses worldwide are successful, then the oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) currently used for routine immunization in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) will be replaced by inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV). IPV will become the only option for such countries if they want to continue to vaccinate against polio (1). Because IPV is currently considered to be too expensive for use in LMICs, strategies are being undertaken to make IPV more affordable (2). Some experts estimate that…

Preparedness Ahead of Pandemic Outbreaks

Lively debate in 2012 concerned the risks and benefits of laboratory studies that created a contagious H5N1 avian pandemic influenza (flu) laboratory-strain virus. One benefit of the public debate is that it reminded governments of the increasingly likely and disastrous possibility of a devastating flu pandemic on the scale of the Spanish influenza outbreak of 1918. Natural evolution of circulating H5N1 viruses could lead to emergence of a deadly and contagious strain (1). Here we outline conventional flu vaccine options…

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…

Protein A

The number of blockbuster monoclonal antibody (MAb) drugs continues to grow. In 2008, MAbs generated revenues in excess of US$15 billion (1), making them the highest-earning category of all biotherapeutics. The world MAb market will reach $62.3 billion in 2015, with next-generation therapeutic antibody revenues reaching $2.3 billion in 2015 according to Visiongain reports published in September and November 2011 (2, 3). Biosimilar antibodies will also begin to enter established markets as regulatory authorities clear approval pathways for them. Most…

Moving Forward with a Gene Therapy for Damaged Hearts

A cocktail of three specific genes can reprogram cells in the scars caused by heart attacks into functioning muscle cells. Adding a gene that stimulates the growth of blood vessels enhances that effect, say researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College, Baylor College of Medicine, and Stony Brook University Medical Center in a report that appears online in the Journal of the American Heart Association (1). “The idea of reprogramming scar tissue in the heart into functioning heart muscle was exciting,”…

Keeping New Technologies Coming

The biomanufacturing industry is heavily invested in improvements in productivity and efficiency, and innovation is a critical component to ensuring gains in these areas. Yet that is not always the case. Suppliers and innovators in this market face greater challenges, and much longer product evaluation cycles than in other segments, for example the information technology or semiconductor industries. In the highly regulated biomanufacturing environment, changing any aspect of a process can potentially necessitate additional regulatory submissions to the US Food…

Profitability in the Biosimilars Market

The biosimilars space offers significant commercial opportunity. About US$60 billion of branded biologic sales will lose patent protection over the next few years, including some of the largest-selling monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). Companies are jostling among themselves, each seeking the best position to exploit that opportunity. Regulators are creating and refining the necessary pathways to success, alliances are being forged, and companies are being acquired. Despite the significant opportunity for biosimilar MAbs, significant risks remain. Perhaps the most significant of those…

An Analysis of the US Biosimilars Development Pipeline and Likely Market Evolution

No consensus concerning biosimilar-related terminology and definitions has yet been achieved (1,2,3). Biosimilars may be defined as biopharmaceuticals slated for generic-drug–like, abbreviated, comparisons-based approvals through a formal biosimilar approval pathway in the United States, European Union, and/or other highly regulated and developed countries based on a demonstration of substantial (bio)similarity to a reference product. As required in the United States, biosimilar active agents (those involving recombinant proteins) must be identical in primary sequence with their reference products. Analytical and comparative…

In Vitro Functional Testing Methods for Monoclonal Antibody Biosimilars

The pressure to contain rising healthcare costs — combined with the number of innovator biologic drugs coming off patent (30 licensed biological drugs by 2015) — offers huge opportunities for developers of biosimilar products. In 2011, the global market size of the biosimilars industry was around US$2.5 billion. Global demand for such products — and monoclonal antibody (MAb) biosimilars, specifically — is estimated to grow at 8–17% from 2012 to 2016 (1). The advent of biosimilars should bring more affordable…