Manufacturing

Eradicating the Need for Cold-Chain Distribution in the Biopharmaceutical Industry

Cold chain distribution is complicated and critical for formulations that must be kept in very cold temperatures in the pharmaceutical industry, since their stability decreases quickly at room temperatures. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported over 50% of vaccines are wasted and must be disposed of globally every year due in part to disruption of the cold chain distribution and lack the resources to support the ultracold temperature requirements. A possible solution to the existing problem is Hyalo Technologies’…

Single-Use Systems for Storing and Shipping Frozen Drug Materials

Using presterilized, single-use freeze–thaw systems instead of traditional freeze–thaw platforms that include stainless-steel tanks and bottles can help biomanufacturers manage the quality of their drug substances. Single-use assemblies reduce the risk of cross-contamination, simplify dispensing, and decrease the number of manual interventions during freezing, thawing, handling, and shipping. However, implementing a freeze–thaw process requires careful testing of the physical and thermal properties of single-use systems and related aseptic connectors as well as assessment of drug-substance quality and stability. Such evaluation…

Risk Considerations for Aging Pharmaceutical Facility Cleanrooms

Pharmaceutical facility cleanrooms are designed to reduce and control particle contamination and to minimize the ingress and retention of microorganisms. Such risks typically are easy to control in well-designed, modern facilities. But risk mitigation is more difficult in older facilities. There is no exact definition of what constitutes an aging facility (or what are sometimes euphemistically called legacy facilities). For example, a facility established 100 years ago to manufacture a simple tablet can continue to operate perfectly well with careful…

Facilities Roundup: What’s Behind the Expansions?

In the early 2000s, the trade press was abuzz about an imminent “capacity crunch” in mammalian cell culture. Dire predictions of shortages were based on biopharmaceutical successes to that point, on bursting development pipelines, and on the lengthy timelines and high costs of assembling tens of thousands of liters of stainless-steel bioreactors and supporting infrastructure. Those predictions failed to anticipate several positive developments that would render doom-and-gloom scenarios moot. Notably, yearly improvements in protein titers for MAb processes already were…

Rapid Deployment of Manufacturing Options: An Analysis of Risks and Benefits

Biomanufacturers seeking the best approach to rapid implementation of flexible manufacturing capacity take into account the benefits presented by different modular construction options. We analyzed different approaches to building manufacturing capacity and assessed the economic benefits of each approach. Our evaluation was based on biopharmaceutical products for which there is an immediate unmet need, such as treatments or vaccinations for COVID-19. Such products also might entail a sudden increase in demand (e.g., expansion of a product indication or sales ramp…

Facilities for Novel Therapies: Demystifying Design and Engineering Requirements for Cell and Gene Therapy Production

Many veterans of the biologics industry presume that emerging therapeutics such as cell and gene therapies (CGTs) require production facilities that differ substantially from those for monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) and other conventional biologics. But experience with designing CGT facilities bears out that far more synergies than differences exist across facilities for conventional and advanced therapies. Herein, I call attention to some of those shared design concerns and demystify facilities and engineering requirements for CGTs. Observing the Synergies Many processes have…

Benefits of Single-Use Standardization: Adopting a Standard Design Approach

It is widely accepted that standardization of single-use designs and assemblies would be beneficial to the biopharmaceutical industry, providing it quickly with simple and economical solutions. Meanwhile, as implementation of single-use technology increases across the biopharmaceutical industry, suppliers are struggling to keep up with demand. That has been evident particularly in current supply issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A widely adopted single-use standardization approach could help alleviate such supply issues. That would not only benefit the industry by helping…

The Pandemic Changes Facility Strategy: A Focus on Speed to Market Triggers Innovation

The push to expedite COVID-19 vaccines over the past year has led the biopharmaceutical industry to try novel strategies to accelerate product development and manufacturing. To compress discovery, development, and manufacturing into several months rather than a typical multiple-year effort has meant reexamining nearly every aspect of the process — including facilities required to house the work. Successful COVID-19 vaccine development undoubtedly will change biomanufacturing strategy forever. Previously, current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) manufacturing options were twofold: building facilities and…

eBook: mRNA — Revisiting a Technology That Has Rocketed into Success

At the end of 2018, BPI published its first eBook about mRNA drug products — and quite a lot has happened since then! Our initial report highlighted companies working on mRNA therapeutics for cystic fibrosis, heart disease, and cancer, as well as vaccines. The latter approach took off in 2020 with the advent of SARS-CoV-2 and the COVID-19 pandemic, and in a stunningly short time, the biopharmaceutical industry has learned much about manufacture, formulation, product design, and distribution of mRNA…

Preparing for Process Improvements: Discussions of the Cell Therapy Industry’s Supply Chain, Automation, and Control Needs

As editors, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to listen to biopharmaceutical developers and innovators discuss the intricacies of their work. Typically, we find that the best discussions come from asking two fundamental questions: What need did you observe in the industry that drove your work, and what technologies would help you do your job better? Over the past five years or so, the answers have shifted. Cell and gene therapy (CGT) innovators are focusing on increasingly complex diseases…