Downstream Processing

Advanced Viral Clearance Study Design: A Total Viral Challenge Approach to Virus Filtration

Biologics derived from mammalian organisms have been accepted for therapeutic use for almost a century (1). However, these pharmaceuticals have the potential for contamination with pathogenic adventitious agents such as viruses. With cell-line–derived recombinant proteins, the viral risks commonly include viruses in the Retroviridae and Parvoviridae families (2). As patient safety and manufacturing facility suitability became significant concerns in the 1980s and 1990s, several industry and regulatory bodies reached consensus on how to approach the unique challenges of viral safety…

Evaluating Adsorptive Filtration As a Unit Operation for Virus Removal

Most recombinant monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) are produced by mammalian cells. Because biopharmaceuticals derived from mammalian tissue culture carry the risk of adventitious virus contamination, regulatory agencies expect risk-mitigation strategies to include validation of purification unit operations for their ability to clear viruses (1). Guidelines from the International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH) describe how to prove viral clearance in downstream purification processes using an orthogonal approach (2). Viral log10 reduction values (LRVs) are…

New Dimensions in Single-Use Filtration

Whether viral vectors are clarified or the bioburden after cell harvest needs to be reduced to recover antibodies, such applications in biopharmaceutical production require large filtration areas. Single-use technologies are indispensable in many such bioprocesses. Although some single-use filter assemblies have reached their limits, Sartorius Stedim Biotech has made developments to revolutionize these production steps. Scale-Up Limitations in Single-Use technology Conventional stainless steel process systems have been established for decades in the pharmaceutical industry. They are the basis of safe…

Establishing Effective High-Throughput Contaminant Removal with Membrane Chromatography

Bharat Serums and Vaccines Limited (BSV) in India conducted a study based on effective removal of host cell proteins (HCPs) from a recombinant hormone with a wide isoform profile in the acidic range imparting drug-product activity. Because the hormone and HCPs have a similar range of active species, the purification process with conventional chromatography resins had difficultly removing those HCPs from the active isoforms of the hormone. To solve that issue, a membrane chromatography technique was implemented. Our initial choice…

Streamlined Column-Packing Design for a New Commercial Launch Facility

To meet network demand for a commercial launch facility, Genentech (Roche) designed a new downstream train and built it within an existing building shell at the company’s Oceanside, CA, site. This downstream train included new technologies to allow for rapid technology transfer of different new products in the company’s drug pipeline. One technology that was pursued was the Axichrom column platform from GE Healthcare and associated column packing equipment to streamline column packing design. Here we focus on how a…

Addressing the Challenge of Complex Buffer Management: An In-Line Conditioning Collaboration

Preparation and storage of buffers is a challenge for biopharmaceutical companies developing protein-based pharmaceuticals. The need for volumes of buffer to purify increasing upstream titers have become a major bottleneck in biopharmaceutical downstream processing. Italian biopharmaceutical company Kedrion Biopharma collects and fractionates blood plasma to produce plasma-derived therapeutic products for treating and preventing serious diseases, disorders, and conditions such as hemophilia and immune-system deficiencies. To expand its offerings and include the immunoglobulin G fractionate of blood plasma (IgG, an antibody…

µPAC™ Microchip Chromatography: Better By Design

The boundaries of technology can be pushed significantly when insights from different fields reinforce each other. Based on in silico simulations demonstrating the importance of order on the efficiency of chromatographic separations, PharmaFluidics has combined expertise from the analytical chromatography and semiconductor chip manufacturing industries to create a new type of nanoscale liquid chromatography (LC) column. Conventional LC columns contain randomly packed beads as a stationary phase. By contrast, PharmaFluidics uses a lithographic etching process to create a perfectly ordered…

Scaling Considerations to Maximize the High-Area Advantage

Maximizing filtration-area density is a design strategy to minimize filter footprint and improve filtration process economics. Pleated membrane formats commonly are used to achieve that goal for sterilizing-grade filters operating in dead-end mode (also known as normal-flow filtration). Although high-density pleat geometries increase productivity for a device, such formats can present unique challenges. One of the most common concerns is that pleat formats can introduce flow resistance that impedes a device’s filtration efficiency, particularly for high–pleat-density geometries (1, 2). Filtration…

Current Thinking in Viral Safety: Risk Management Protects Patients

BPI’s editor in chief S. Anne Montgomery recently caught up with long-time editorial advisor Hazel Aranha (purification technologies technology expert for Sartorius Stedim Biotech, North America). They discussed a number of topics related to viral safety. Montgomery: What is the current thinking regarding virus-safety assurance in biopharmaceutical manufacturing? How is the industry preventing viral contamination? Aranha: The “holy grail” of viral safety — absolute freedom from extraneous agents or residual pathogenicity — is a myth. That said, biopharmaceutical products have…

Scalable Purification of Viral Vectors for Gene Therapy: An Appraisal of Downstream Processing Approaches

Gene therapy is the transfer of genetic material to a patient’s cells to achieve a therapeutic effect. Therapeutic DNA is largely delivered using viral vector systems based on adenoviruses (Ad), adenoassociated viruses (AAV), and lentiviruses (LV). With the application of such viral vectors as clinical therapeutics growing, scalable commercial processes (particularly for purification) are being investigated and optimized to best ensure that critical quality attributes (CQAs) are retained. Herein we review viral vector purification techniques and the effect of different…