November 2008

Leveraging the Size and Scope of Global CROs

Biotech was “born” in the 1970s. Since that time innovation by biotech pioneers has brought more than 200 medicines and vaccines to fruition for difficult-to-treat indications including oncology, HIV/AIDs, diabetes, and immune disorders. Another 400 biotech products targeting 200 diseases are currently in clinical trials, and 700 compounds are in preclinical development (1). Overall, the industry had a banner year in 2007, with an 8% increase in biotech revenues and a total of more than $29.9 billion (US) in investment…

Puerto Rico Aims to Be the Biotech Island

Our vision is to be the preferred partner for industry and academia for biotech training, research, and development in the American hemisphere by 2012.” That’s the vision statement of the Bioprocess Development and Training Complex (BDTC) in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, which opened 11 September 2008. The BDTC is the latest in a series of developments designed to make Puerto Rico “Bio Island,” the goal of Governor Anibal Acevedo-Vila. As he described in a conversation with BPI at the 2008 BIO…

Introducing Disposable Systems into Biomanufacturing

Single-use (disposable) systems are being considered and introduced into many biopharmaceutical processes because manufacturers have identified significant benefits they offer over traditional reusable systems. These benefits are often more evident when a new process and product are being developed. Lower capital expenditures, shorter development times for new facilities, and reduced validation costs are some of the reasons single-use technology may be selected. Here, a contract manufacturer’s case study is described in which an existing stainless steel system was completely replaced…

How to Justify Investment in Anticounterfeiting

Pharmaceutical products are critical to the social, economic, and political stability of societies around the world. No other business sector is more dependent on consumer confidence. Like food products, drugs are highly vulnerable to deliberate and/or accidental disruption. A small tablet has almost no intrinsic value on its own; its value derives from the pedigree of its manufacturer and the belief that the pill will change someone’s life for the better. Manufacturers hold a sacred trust (given them by their…

Partnering with a CMO in China

Many biopharmaceutical companies are evaluating the option of working with contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs) in China. There are probably as many reasons for following that strategy as there are companies doing the evaluating. However, regardless of the strategic plan behind pursuit of a CMO in China, there are key issues each company must consider as part of its due diligence before selecting one. Through a fast growing economy and government supported transition from low-margin to high-margin products, China is quickly…

Assessing Nonparallelism in Bioassays

The classic F-test for nonparallelism is widely used for bioassays with linear log dose-response lines to assess parallelism, or, more correctly, to examine the strength of evidence against a null hypothesis that the two lines are parallel. Alternative methods for assessing parallelism have been proposed, but their suitability for any particular case needs to be carefully considered. Here we examine some advantages and disadvantages of the different approaches. PRODUCT FOCUS: ALL BIOLOGICALSPROCESS FOCUS: QA/QCWHO SHOULD READ: QA/QC, ASSAY DEVELOPMENT, AND…

CMOs Can Add Value to Outsourced Projects

Organizations outsource tasks to contract service providers for diverse reasons ranging from internal resource constraints (particularly in virtual or start-up companies) to overflow capacity, or to avoid or delay capital or resource investment. The scope of outsourced work varies from limited tasks such as an outsourced assay to complete process development and GMP manufacturing. In a highly competitive outsourcing market, customers expect successful and timely execution of the outsourced work, but they also seek “added value” to the overall program.…

Technologies and Training Move Sterility to New Levels

Take six people and sample the microbial ecosystem on their forearms, and you will find more than 240 distinct microbes (1, 2). So it becomes readily apparent why keeping a cleanroom “clean” is a difficult task. One problem is that we humans are limited in our visual capacities and can see objects down to only 50 µm (3). If we could see contaminating particles, we would likely be very quick to clean them away. In fact, cleaning and cleaning validation…

Critical Issues in Outsourcing to a CMO

Deciding to outsource biopharmaceutical manufacturing is a strategic decision with long-term consequences. Most companies deliberate carefully as they select a contract manufacturing organization (CMO). Because the factors involved in such deliberations vary widely among organizations — and they shift over time — my company has included an analysis of critical outsourcing issues as part of its fifth annual report and survey of biopharmaceutical manufacturing capacity and production (1). In this year’s study of 434 global biomanufacturing facilities, we found the…

Comparing Mammalian Expression Systems

Almost every pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company in the world depends on the use of recombinant stable cell lines to enable drug discovery, development, and often manufacturing of biologics. It normally falls on multidisciplinary upstream development teams to attain this goal, requiring a wide variety of technologies and skill sets such as laboratory robotics, optical analyzers, molecular biology, and data processing. The large capital investment required to procure the equipment and expertise necessary to develop biologics can be cost prohibitive, which…