April 2013

Women Helping Women in Biotechnology

How can we empower women to advance their own careers? How do we encourage entrepreneurship for more female scientists? What will get more girls excited about science? Those are questions that the Women In Bio (WIB) organization seeks to address as it creates programs and networking events across the country. WIB is an organization of biotechnology professionals whose mission is to promote careers, leadership, and entrepreneurship for women involved in life sciences. Started in 2002 as a small support network…

The Role of Medical Affairs in Moving from R&D to Commercialization

Bringing a new pharmaceutical product to market is a unique process based on a number of requirements for supporting a product launch. For a research and development (R&D) company, launching a product into market may seem to be an issue for someone else to handle in the far-distant future and at a much later time. But even at laboratory or early development stages, biotechnology companies should understand the language of pharmaceutical companies and know how that industry operates. Doing so…

Liquid or Powdered Media?

For decades, innovations in research and production techniques have been driving forces in the biopharmaceutical industry. But market conditions fueled by the economic downturn over the past five years have increased regulatory burdens in the United States and Europe. Rising costs and risks associated with new drug development now require that biopharmaceutical companies manufacture their products more quickly and cost-effectively than ever before. To this end, companies are looking for new ways to reduce expenditures, increase profitability, speed research, enhance…

Amplifying the Possibilities

Polymerases are natural enzymes that are vital to nucleic acid synthesis: DNA polymerase for replication of deoxyribonucleic acid and RNA polymerase for replication of ribonucleic acid. Thus all living things make and use polymerases of their own. But in 1969, the University of Wisconsin’s Thomas D. Brock and Hudson Freeze identified a new species of extremophilic bacterium thriving at 160 °F (70 °C) in a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park. In time, heat-tolerant polymerase isolated from Thermus aquaticus (Taq)…

High-Yield Production of PASylated Human Growth Hormone Using Secretory E. coli Technology

Since the 1985 approval of the first recombinant human growth hormone (hGH, such as Protropin/somatrem human growth hormone from Genentech, now Roche), the number of clinical indications for therapy with hGH has steadily increased (1). That led to a highly successful drug with more than US$3 billion sales in 2011 (2). Even so, hGH shares a common problem with most other first-generation protein therapeutics: a very short plasma half-life of just about two hours in humans. Because such biologics are…

T-Cell Suspension Culture in a 24-Well Microbioreactor

Cell therapy promises revolutionary new therapeutic treatments for cancer and other serious diseases and injuries. For example, T-cell therapy response rates of >50% and durable complete response rates of 20% have been reported in patients with metastatic melanoma who had failed other therapies (1). In another example, sustained remissions of up to a year were achieved among a small group of advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients upon treatment with autologous T-cells expressing an anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (2). Numerous other…

Drug Products for Biological Medicines

Traditionally, the CaSSS CMC Strategy Forum meetings have provided a scientific focus on the development of biotech drug substances and their manufacture and characterization, leaving the development of drug product formulation and filling, understanding primary containers, and considering novel delivery systems somewhat out of scope. Over recent years, however, the importance of investing more science and technology into drug product development has become evident as different product types, higher protein concentrations, and doses and requirements for improved delivery of biological…

Advances in Sensor Technology Improve Biopharmaceutical Development

Today’s biomanufacturing operations require constant management of biopharmaceutical process attributes throughout process development and production. Continuous online measurements of pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), oxidation–reduction potential (ORP), and conductivity (Figure 1) allow real-time industrial process monitoring and adjustment. These functions are crucial to process improvement studies and accurate, reliable manufacturing of high-quality products. Figure 1: () “In the pharmaceutical industry, it is extremely valuable to see how an attribute changes with time and correlate that change with parts of the process,”…

CMC Strategy Forum Europe 2013 6–8 May 2013 — Hilton Old Town (Prague, Czech Republic)

Organized by CASSS, an International Separation Science Society, the seventh annual CMC Strategy Forum Europe will focus on improving quality in development and manufacturing of biopharmaceutical products. Led by experts from global regulatory agencies, academia, and industry, this event series explores emerging aspects of chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC) technology and regulation. The forums are designed to maximize dialog among participants. Relatively short and focused presentations set the agenda for panel discussions that engage all who have experience and expertise…