Manufacturing

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…

Exciting Starts for New Players and Platforms: Nucleic-Acid Vaccines Prepare for Their Commercial Debut

Although vaccine platforms based on messenger RNA (mRNA) are enjoying the limelight in the wake of emergency authorizations of products from Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna, DNA vaccines are poised to make their own commercial debuts soon. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that six of the 48 candidate vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 that remain in clinical trials are DNA-based products, as are 14 others in preclinical study (1). I spoke with Hong Jiang (cofounder and chief operating officer of Aegis Life, Inc.)…

Cold-Chain Validation: Emerging Vaccines for COVID-19 and Beyond Require More Extensive Evaluation

In the wake of fast-track approvals for Pfizer’s and Moderna’s respective SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, now begins the largest immunization campaign in world history. Its success will depend not only on the products’ safety and efficacy, but also on several mass-distribution programs requiring significant cold-chain infrastructure. The public has become acutely aware of the Pfizer vaccine’s demanding cryostorage specifications, generating considerable anxiety about how mass distribution will happen. Behind the scenes, however, cold-chain engineering companies such as Modality Solutions have worked alongside…

Enhancing Vaccine Platforms: Computational Models Accelerate Development, Manufacturing, and Distribution

Pandemics such as the current COVID-19 outbreak pose tremendous healthcare and economic challenges. Vaccines hold promise for controlling pandemics; however, substantial challenges come with pandemic-response vaccine development, manufacturing, distribution, and administration. To address those now, many companies are using rapid-response vaccine-production platform technologies. Computational modeling tools could help further accelerate development of those technologies, increase production and distribution efficiencies, and reduce costs and risks once vaccine platforms are fully developed and validated. To those ends, a set of modeling methodologies…

Advanced Analytics to Accelerate Development of Genetic Vaccines

Biopharmaceutical companies are racing to develop vaccines that mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic, taking a wide range of vaccine-development approaches that include traditional modalities and cutting-edge technologies based on DNA and RNA. Vaccine developers are leveraging robust manufacturing concepts and integrated processes to shorten timelines. Advanced analytics also are playing a critical role in ensuring the safety and efficacy of those emerging vaccines. A New Wave of Vaccines Vaccines based on attenuated viruses entail development timelines ranging from four years to…

Reacting to a Pandemic: Innovations in Vaccine Development

Traditionally, viruses for vaccines have been grown in embryonated hen eggs. But new challenges introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic have encouraged and catalyzed innovations in the field of vaccine development. The biopharmaceutical industry has recognized an advantage in mammalian cell-culture systems as promising alternatives to egg-based vaccine production. Cell lines can be cultured to large quantities in bioreactors, allowing for much shorter lead times, a more controlled production process, and a higher grade of reproducibility through standardization. In this article,…

The Green Imperative: Part Two — Engineering for Sustainability in Single-Use Technologies

In BPI’s June 2020 issue, the first installment of this series introduces the study and implementation of single-use (SU) technology to provide a more sustainable manufacturing environment (1). We presented evidence showing that the economic and social benefits of SU systems currently outweigh the residual environmental risks. Not only is SU technology often a better environmental choice than traditional biomanufacturing options, it also is sometimes the only choice for rapid process design and facility start-up. In situations such as the…

Silicone Tubing for Biopharmaceutical Applications: Particulates, Endotoxins, and Bioburden Characterization

Adoption of single-use systems (SUS) has increased steadily over the past few years driven by an increased focus on manufacturing biologics that require smaller scales than blockbuster drugs. Although SUS provide many benefits, some factors need to be considered when implementing them in biopharmaceutical production. With the regulatory landscape intensifying worldwide, drug manufacturers are expecting more data from suppliers to support the purity claims of supplied products, especially related to the purity of their product-contact surfaces. In this article, we…