March 2011

Technologies on the Cutting Edge

    On the brink of bringing exciting new therapies to commercialization, cell therapy developers are taking notice of how other companies are addressing processing and technical challenges. Here, leaders from Dendreon, Advanced BioHealing, and Pluristem describe their current cell therapy programs. And two organizations —the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM) and McLaughlin–Rotman Center for Global Health —provide details on the promises of regenerative medicine.   Cellular Immunotherapy   Dendreon’s Provenge (sipuleucel-T) cell therapy induces an immune response to aid…

Think Strategically for Design of Experiments Success

Global competition fueled by the power of information technology has forced the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries to seek new ways to compete. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has promoted quality by design (QbD) as an effective approach to speed up product and process development and create manufacturing processes that produce high-quality products that are safe and effective (1,2,3). Statistical design of experiments (DoE) is a tool that is central to QbD and the development of product and process…

Cell Therapy Bioprocessing

          The past 15 years have seen approval and commercialization of the first cell-based therapeutics, including cartilage repair products; tissue-engineered skin; and the first personalized, cellular immunotherapy for cancer. Those successes are outnumbered, however, by all too common product failures. Notable failures can be attributed to commercial concerns such as high cost of goods (CoGs) and technical hurdles such as inadequate characterization, high process variability, and loss of product efficacy when manufacturing is scaled up (1).…

Predicting Virus Filtration Performance with Virus Spike Characterization

Evaluating a virus filter should, in theory, be a straightforward exercise. Membrane-based filtration is a robust virus reduction technology that plays an important role in virus safety for most drug production processes. An appropriate virus filter for a given process is generally selected through preliminary testing with relevant drug feed material. Data acquired during such tests are used to determine hydraulic performance targets such as expected flow rates and total throughputs. A virus clearance evaluation study is then performed in…

Meeting the Challenges in Manufacturing Autologous Cellular Therapies

Personalized medicine is a promising new approach to disease treatment. The ultimate in personalized medicine is a cellular therapy manufactured specifically for an individual patient using his or her own cells. But this autologous approach to generating immunotherapies has unique manufacturing challenges. Each patient receives an individual product batch, which needs to be manufactured, tested, and released. So thousands to tens of thousands of batches could be made for each indication every year. Given the personalized nature of these therapies,…

Development of an In-House, Process-Specific ELISA for Detecting HCP in a Therapeutic Antibody, Part 1

    After production and purification of biopharmaceuticals generated by cell culture expression systems, endogenous cell line proteins — commonly referred to as host-cell proteins (HCPs) — sometimes contaminate finished products. HCPs can elicit an immune response following administration of those drugs to patients (1), and cause potentially deleterious side effects. It is therefore imperative to minimize HCP contamination in finished biologics. Regulatory health authorities require monitoring of HCP contamination. They expect validation of each purification process to demonstrate its…

Industry Roundtable

    With one eye on commercialization and the other on monitoring every-day challenges, cell therapy manufacturers are asking critical questions about process efficiency, ensuring quality, and satisfying regulatory demands. In this “virtual” roundtable discussion (participants were asked questions separately), cell therapy industry representatives answer key questions in hopes of broadening understanding about this new class of biopharmaceuticals. Participants in this roundtable are Timothy Fong, PhD (director cell therapy, Becton Dickinson Biosciences), Annemarie Moseley, PhD, MD (CEO, Repair Technologies), Firman…

Minimizing Variation of Volume Withdrawn from a Vial Drug Package

Concerns for safety in administration of injectable drug products have escalated in recent years. As a result, scrutiny of administration practices has increased. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are placing greater emphasis on providing the best patient and caregiver experience as well as improving the convenience of drug administration. In fact, many drugs that are regularly administered for chronic conditions are now being offered for at-home preparation and administration. These trends highlight the importance of providing therapies that are not only effective, but…

Addressing Business Models, Reimbursement, and Cost of Goods

The early ISCT organization provided a powerful forum for sharing solutions, developing standards, and moving the emerging concepts in cell therapy forward as the field grew up and out of academia. Currently, the ISCT organization is uniquely positioned to facilitate sharing of best practices, standards, and strategies across the for- profit cell therapy industry through its Commercialization committee. The Business Models, Reimbursement and CoGS (cost of goods sold) subcommittee of the ISCT Commercialization committee was formed to address several key…

From The Editor

          Early on in the life of BPI we offered a few “closer” pages that we called “Defining Moments.” It was to be a forum for distinguishing between terms that are misused and for proposing new definitions for new approaches. In fact, because one particular topic came up again in a conference I attended this past January regarding the terms analytical and bioanalytical, we decided to revisit one of these entries from 2005 (with a few…