June 2012 Supplement

A Decade of Outsourcing

    Outsourcing has been such an integral part of the bioprocessing industry that BPI made it the focus of its first supplement (September 2003). Since then, manufacturers continue to reach beyond local and national borders to extend their networks of partnerships to emerging markets. Global economics during the past decade have not always made outsourcing easy. Ten years ago, manufacturers faced tough decisions over whether it was more cost effective to outsource or keep process activities in-house (possibly expand…

A Decade of Product Development

    In 2004, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) transferred regulation of many highly purified, “well-characterized” biopharmaceutical proteins from the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) to the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), which until then had primarily regulated only synthetic, small-molecule drugs and chemical substances. The most novel/complex and the less-characterized biologics remained within CBER’s jurisdiction. This change complicated BPI’s mission somewhat. When the magazine was founded, we responded to questions from advertisers…

A Decade of Harvesting Methods

    The preliminary separation of a protein of interest from a reactor “soup” of process impurities (e.g., cell debris, colloids, lipids) is the first step in a downstream process. It is also a primary step that introduces a significant risk of product degradation, bioburden concerns, or process errors, especially if a harvest method is not a good “fit” with a newly designed bioreactor (e.g., single-use) or fermentation vessel. In 2003, BPI’s first year, industry concerns revolved around potential capacity…

From the Publisher and Editor

      At about this time of the year, 10 years ago, the four founders of BioProcess International were in arguably the most creative period of their lives. By the middle of 2002, we began designing our collaborative production and operating processes with our new Informa colleagues (then Eaton Publishing). We were assembling author and advertising contacts pretty much from scratch, trading opinions about page designs, building a manuscript pipeline, choosing fonts (something those outside of publishing might not…

A Decade of Processing

    About halfway through our first decade in publication, we became well acquainted with a new buzzword phrase in the biopharmaceutical industry: downstream bottleneck (1). This followed on the heels of a manufacturing capacity crunch that had been forecast shortly before BPI made its debut. Thanks to herculean efforts by upstream process and cell-line engineers, that crunch didn’t pan out. In its place, however, high-titer production moved the pressure downstream. Now separation and purification engineers were tasked with handling…

A Decade of Formulation

    Although no biopharmaceutical pills are yet on the horizon, formulation and delivery have advanced over the past 10 years. Formulators have new biophysical technologies and new product types (such as protein–drug conjugates) to work with. The most important issues haven’t changed much, though — from aggregation to stability, freezing to freeze-drying — although the FDA’s quality by design (QbD) initiative changes the strategies used to address them. Fragile proteins and other biologically sourced macromolecules need protection to achieve…

A Decade of Fill–Finish and Packaging Solutions

    In 2003, BPI’s first year of publication, the Food and Drug Administration released a draft of its updated guidelines on aseptic processing. In it, the agency included the statement, “A well-designed positive pressure isolator, supported by adequate procedures for its maintenance, monitoring, and control offers tangible advantages over classical aseptic processing, including fewer opportunities for microbial contamination during processing” (1).That kind of statement, seemingly approving one technology over another, was unprecedented in an FDA guidance and perhaps an…

A Decade of Biomanufacturing

    The biopharmaceutical industry is emerging from four years of economic challenge in a very healthy state. Process improvements over the past decade have played a major role in keeping the industry healthy. Earlier this decade, most companies were more concerned about quickly getting their drug products to market than about strategically controlling costs of operations. But according to my group’s recent study, this has changed in most areas of manufacturing. In fact, although this year companies reported overall…

A Decade of Filtration

    Filtration is just as vital to bioprocessing as chromatography — and arguably even more so. Filters are not only used as downstream unit operations in themselves, but also in support of nearly every other step in bioprocessing. Gas or liquid filters ensure the quality of incoming air and feeds for cell culture operations, clean the circulating media in perfusion processes, aid in harvest clarification, and remove buffers from chromatographic eluate after chromatography columns. They are used in formulation…

A Decade of Bioreactor and Upstream Technologies

A high-quality product begins with efficient upstream process equipment. Ten years ago, manufacturers were still warming up to single-use bioreactors, which were mainly rocking-bag–based solutions. The benefits relating to cleaning and validation were clear, but their use as bioreactor vessels was still new, and stainless steel systems up to 20,000 L in scale were still needed. Today’s facilities are a hybrid of sophisticated single-use components and stainless steel equipment, the mechanisms of both having undergone improvement during the past decade.…