Author Archives: Andrew Sinclair

Standardized Economic Cost Modeling for Next-Generation MAb Production

Historically, in generating material for clinical testing during antibody process development, emphasis was placed on efficacy, product quality, regulatory compliance, and speed. As the biopharmaceutical industry has matured (and with increasing competition), emphasis has shifted toward cost optimization and manufacturability. Reducing the costs of medicines for patients and payers (thereby broadening access to drugs) is now a key driver during development of new therapies as well as modernizing processes for existing molecules. Cost reduction includes providing robust manufacturing processes that…

A Sustainable, Single-Use Facility for Monoclonal Antibody Production

Pierre Fabre, the second largest independent pharmaceutical group in France, recently opened a new facility to expand its monoclonal antibody (MAb) production for clinical supply. The Antibody Biotechnology Unit (ABU) facility was designed to provide needed flexibility for adapting to various process and capacity changes, so it includes state-of-the-art single-use technologies. The facility was also built with sustainability in mind to minimize the company’s environmental footprint. The company integrated this plant into an existing antibody research and development (R&D) center,…

Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine Made in Modular Facilities with Single-Use Technology

If current efforts to eradicate polioviruses worldwide are successful, then the oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) currently used for routine immunization in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) will be replaced by inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV). IPV will become the only option for such countries if they want to continue to vaccinate against polio (1). Because IPV is currently considered to be too expensive for use in LMICs, strategies are being undertaken to make IPV more affordable (2). Some experts estimate that…

A Framework for Process Knowledge Management

    Process development and manufacturing for biopharmaceuticals are often disjointed activities. Disconnects between groups within an organization can be aggravated by a lack of common terminology and poor data-management practices. Implementing a simple data model based on the ISA-88 standard for batch control can help companies capture process and facility data throughout their product life cycle (1). The first half of this two-part article illustrates how translating a process description to a structured electronic format could transform the bioprocessing…

Monoclonal Antibody Manufacturing

    Continuing the theme of this occasional series, we examine the role of manufacturing in the supply chain in terms of what is required to deliver affordable medicines to patients. The industry has debated the relevance of manufacturing costs in the overall big picture (1). Rising manufacturing costs as a proportion of the overall selling price coupled with increased competitive pressures creates a strong drive to reduce manufacturing costs. However, cost of goods (CoG) is not the only strategic…

Modeling Bioprocess Cost

    At every stage of biopharmaceutical development, efficient and cost-effective protein production is critically important to maintaining the economic viability of both a product and the company developing it. Biopharmaceuticals have significantly evolved through recent protein engineering advances, resulting in highly complex, novel proteins dominating the development pipeline. Such proteins are by definition very difficult to express in a soluble and active form. The success of these products depends on accessing a platform that rapidly produces high-quality, properly folded,…

Influence of Process Development Decisions on Manufacturing Costs

    As we have discussed, cost has not always featured highly during bioprocess development, in which traditionally the focus was on product quality, regulatory compliance, and speed to generate material for the clinic (1). As the industry matures in commercializing successful products, increasing competition (both from competing products and biosimilars) leads to issues of cost and manufacturability coming to the fore. Solutions adopted will depend on each organization: At one extreme are small biotech companies developing novel therapeutic proteins;…

Measuring Manufacturing Cost and Its Impact on Organizations

    The first article in this periodic series reviewed the impact of cost pressures on the biopharmaceutical industry, in particular the challenges the industry faces in relation to high capital costs, complex processes, and long product development cycles (1). Here we examine what companies are doing to assess costs in decisions about process and technology choices relating to manufacturing of biologic drug substances. We will look into what companies are currently doing and what they need to be doing…

How Geography Affects the Cost of Biomanufacturing

    As the biopharmaceutical industry undergoes restructuring, its focus shifts to the efficiency of drug development and overall costs of delivering affordable medicines. A question often raised concerns the manufacture of drug substances overseas to tap into a cheaper manufacturing base (1). There are many issues to consider when looking at overseas locations, such as intellectual property (IP), the availability of skilled labor, and the emergence of new markets. The situation is more complex with biopharmaceuticals because the products…

Delivering Affordable Biologics from Gene to Vial

    In launching this new series of articles under the theme of delivering affordable biologics, from gene to vial, we intend to examine some of the challenges the bioprocess industry faces. We will discuss the implications of key cost challenges facing the industry, develop an understanding of the economics underlying development and manufacturing, and explore options for driving out cost. We wish to encourage dialogue and debate, so in addition to the articles we will also use webcast interviews…