June 2010

Single-Use Technology

Single-use technology began on the downstream side of bioprocessing, primarily in presterilized filter capsules and plastic biocontainers for buffers and media. Since then, it has expanded to upstream operations, including disposable bioreactors and mixers. The newest trend is to move further downstream into sterile formulation and filling. With the increasing popularity of disposable systems, some users are wondering what is being done to standardize the various components from different manufacturers and what BPSA (the Bio-Process Systems Alliance) is doing to…

Technology Transfer of CMC Activities for MAb Manufacturing

    With combined 2009 revenues estimated to be over US$40 billion, monoclonal antibody (MAb) products have become the dominant component of the biopharmaceutical market (1). Continued interest and development of this exciting class of products will drive the overall sales of biopharmaceutical products in the future, making them the fastest growing segment of the overall pharmaceutical market (2). To help companies developing MAb products, BioProcess Technology Consultants recently published a comprehensive report outlining the complex technical, regulatory, and strategic…

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…

Manufacture Locally, Market Globally?

    One response to a survey we sent out last year kept coming back to me as we prepared this issue. In answer to what a company does if a product in development doesn’t fit into the company’s platform technology, one answer was, “We innovate a solution.” Whether meant seriously or not, it rings true to the history of the industry’s ability to invent and reinvent solutions as necessitated by economic realities. When we began working on the topic…

Contractor Responsibilities in Outsourced Pharmaceutical Quality Control Testing

    Pharmaceutical companies of all sizes outsource at least some quality control (QC) testing to contract analytical testing laboratories. Virtual and smaller companies may not have the staff to conduct such testing, whereas mid- to large-size companies may outsource testing that they do not wish to perform in-house. In the relationship between a pharmaceutical company and its outsourcing partner, each partner has clearly delineated responsibilities, both business and compliance related. In May 2010, we discussed a contractee’s (contract giver’s)…

A Convergence of New Products and Technologies Changes the Game

    Vaccine makers are leading the way — that’s something you don’t hear every day. For many years, vaccines were seen as “old-school” and less profitable than other biologic products — and they were the business of just a few huge companies. But thanks to recombinant technology, it’s a real Cinderella story: Advancing technologies led to what’s being called the “vaccine renaissance.” And now, vaccine companies may have something to teach their biopharmaceutical brethren. In April 2004, BPI may…

Practical Considerations for DoE Implementation in Quality By Design

    It is generally accepted that quality cannot be tested or inspected into a finished product, but rather that quality, safety, and effectiveness must be “designed” and built into a product and its manufacturing process. To encourage new initiatives and provide guidance to pharmaceutical process developers, the International Conference on Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use introduced the quality by design (QbD) concept. ICH-Q8 defines it as “a systematic approach to development that begins…

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…

Minimizing Costs and Process Times with Local Biomanufacturing

For a growing number of biopharmaceutical companies, the world is getting smaller. They are operating in smaller, more flexible facilities; servicing potentially smaller markets; and managing local products. Local manufacturers are looking for ways of doing standard processing less expensively without making changes that carry regulatory risk. Most of these facilities are vaccine manufacturing sites. The upsurge in localized diseases and need for global pandemic preparedness (especially under uncertain capacities) have countries such as Malaysia, India, China, and Brazil pushing…

Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorting for CGMP Processing of Therapeutic Cells

    Cell therapy using embryonic or adult stem cells for regenerative medicine is generating high interest in the global medical community and in the general population.Physicians and patients are looking to cell therapies as potentially curative treatments for diseases such as diabetes, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, Graft versus Host disease (GvHD), and cancer. Cell-based therapeutic products have been administered in clinics for nearly 90 years in the form of blood transfusions and for 50 years in the…