Manufacturing

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…

Facility Design:
A Guide to Maximizing Value

Rapid growth and changing market dynamics in biologics and vaccine sectors have prompted biopharmaceutical companies and contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) to build new manufacturing facilities at unprecedented speeds. This often means developing single-use (SU) or hybrid bioprocessing facilities with reusable legacy equipment for production of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs), antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs), and viral-based vectors. For many companies, facility design begins by engaging an engineering consultancy to develop a layout that maximizes space use and minimizes equipment, fittings, and…

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…

The Difficulties of Manufacturing Cell and Gene Therapies At Scale

From large-scale manufacturing of one-size-fits-all blockbusters to small-scale processing of personalized therapies, the biopharmaceutical industry has undergone a revolution over the past decade. Among the standout milestones is the development of advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs). More than 1,000 of these research-intensive therapies are progressing through clinical trials toward potential commercial manufacturing. Cell and gene therapies (autologous and allogeneic) are targeted for many incurable diseases and conditions, including autoimmune disorders and cancers. Despite the excitement about ATMP potential, developers and…

Embracing Innovation in Biomanufacturing

Innovations in bioproduction of therapeutics over the past 20 years have led to impressive improvements in product yield, process controls, and manufacturing safety. Industry 4.0 concepts have been embraced across the bioprocess industry and are leading to better bioprocess control through process automation, “big data” and data analysis, process simulations, the industrial internet of things (IIoT), cybersecurity, the cloud, blockchain/serialization, and additive manufacturing. Such advances help to ensure that a process results in the same outcome every time. As Sean…