Manufacturing

Scalable Manufacturing of Lentiviral Gene Therapies

Lysosomal storage diseases are caused by mutated genes that express defective lysosomal proteins, such as essential enzymes. For example, cystinosis is a metabolic disease caused by a defective gene that encodes cystinosin, an exporter protein (Figure 1). Avrobio develops gene therapies to treat lysosomal storage diseases. On 8 October 2019, the company announced that its first patient had been dosed in the AVR-RD-04 investigational gene therapy program, which involves genetic modification of the patient’s own hematopoietic stem cells to treat cystinosis.…

Using Blockchain Technology to Ensure Data Integrity: Applying Hyperledger Fabric to Biomanufacturing

Digitalization of manufacturing operations is a major challenge that many industries face. With the advent of smart equipment, automation of unit operations and complete processes, and digitalization of batch documentation, more data are generated now than ever before. The information must remain manageable, and data integrity needs to be ensured. The challenge for biomanufacturers will be to ensure that their entire large output of data will be attributable, legible, contemporaneous, original, and accurate (ALCOA) as defined by the US Food…

Ask the Expert: Accelerating Development and Manufacturing Platforms for Viral Vectors

Bai-wei Gu, Juan Lagos, and Matthew Weaver (heads of cell line development, upstream process development, and downstream process development groups, respectively, at WuXi Advanced Therapies, ATU) joined forces on 29 October 2019 to feature their company’s viral-vector manufacturing capabilities for cell and gene therapies. In addition to adherent platforms for lentivirus (LV) and adenoassociated virus (AAV) vectors, ATU soon will offer suspension-cultured viral vector platforms for them as well as analytical measures that support release testing. Transitioning from adherent to…

eBook: Peptide Therapies — Small Biomolecules Address Big Health Problems

This crash course in the development of peptide therapies brings together two articles: one on product research and the other on manufacturing and regulatory concerns. In “Fighting Alzheimer’s Disease from Within: A Breakthrough Peptide,” freelance journalist Marc Davis highlights current developments in Alzheimer’s disease treatment, focusing specifically on a peptide approach from Canadian company NervGen. In “Making Peptides Work,” BPI’s senior technical editor adds perspective on developing and manufacturing peptide therapies from the Informa Connect community, with commentary from experts…

eBook: Continuous Bioprocessing — Promises and Challenges

Biotechnological productions are commonly executed as batch processes, especially during downstream processing. Higher titers in fermentations, reductions in operating scale, and the quest for improving product quality all have led to an intensified effort for developing continuous processing. It is forecasted that within the next 10 years, about 50% of all drugs under development will be biopharmaceuticals, making it worthwhile to develop more efficient processes. In this BPI eBook, Babu Halan (project engineer) and Wolfgang Minas (global lead of the…

From Big Data to Precise Understanding: The Quest for Meaningful Information

High-throughput technologies have transformed the biotechnology industry. The amount of data they generate is at least a hundred times higher now than it was two decades ago, primarily because of the rise of “-omic” technologies. As in many other industries, the biopharmaceutical sector entered the era of big data the day that high-throughput analytics were routinely implemented in experimental research. Big data refers to “datasets with sizes beyond the ability of commonly used software tools to capture, curate, manage, and…

Ask the Expert: Accelerating Timelines By Integrating Cell-Line Development and Manufacturing

In a 31 October 2019 “Ask the Expert” presentation, Nicole Wakes (group leader of Abzena’s cell-line development team) observed that drug sponsors often outsource their early upstream activities to a few different contract research organizations (CROs). But that strategy can thwart short timelines and introduce regulatory and financial risks. Wakes described Abzena’s upstream approach, illustrating how partnering with a single, multicompetent CRO from cell line construction through manufacture can streamline workflows. Integrating cell line development and manufacturing in this way…

Ask the Expert: Developing Bioprocesses for Clinical Manufacturing Success

Biopharmaceutical companies need to make critical chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC) decisions during clinical development of recombinant protein biologics and advanced therapies. In a 17 December 2019 “Ask the Expert” webinar, Nigel Shipston (director of program design at FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, FDB) reviewed key aspects of selecting and working with a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO). He also highlighted important factors that should be considered during early stages of process development. Shipston’s Presentation The sheer magnitude of investment required…

Bioengineering for “Benchtop Clinical Trials”

Animal studies can be poor predictors of human drug response. Species-specificity of organs is a concern especially for the heart. Many drugs that enter clinical trials will fail ultimately because of unexpected cardiotoxicity. Drug developers would love to mitigate such risks through in vitro human cardiac testing, but human heart biopsy materials and donor organs do not survive well in a laboratory setting. Breakthroughs with human stem cells offer an alternative. It is now possible to take a simple skin…

Challenges and Opportunities in CAR T-Cell Development and Manufacturing

Just about anyone in the biopharmaceutical industry will tell you that cost is now the primary concern in cell and gene therapy development. It hasn’t even been a decade since “manufacturability” was the main issue at hand — and cost has risen organically from related discussions. Regenerative medicine evolved from medical research rather than from drug-development companies, and technologies that worked in clinical settings haven’t translated directly to manufacturing facilities. Cost is often the problem. Early product successes (that ultimately…