October 2013

Cellular Communications

Like spectroscopy, as discussed in BPI Lab last month (1), cell signaling is not a laboratory technique but rather an area of scientific study. The environment of living cells — whether prokaryotic or eukaryotic, in vitro or in vivo — comprises not only water, nutrients, waste products, and metabolites, but also molecules released by other cells in response to intracellular events such as microbial infection and disease state or environmental factors such as temperature, osmolality, and pH. Receptor proteins on…

Emerging Challenges to Protein A

Protein A affinity chromatography has been a target for replacement since its commercial debut, mainly because of its high acquisition cost. The technique became established despite the cost because it was born into an industrial culture that favored speed to market over manufacturing economy (1). Vendors have since strengthened protein A’s position with incremental but worthy improvements such as higher capacity, lower ligand leaching, and modest tolerance of NaOH. Collateral improvements in polishing technologies, such as the high throughput and…

An Industry–Academia Partnership

GE Healthcare Life Sciences recently launched a joint program with Osaka University to support future growth of the biopharmaceutical sector in Japan. Together, they offer students access to GE Healthcare’s expertise in training and technologies for bioprocess research and manufacturing. The program is funded by Osaka University as part of its “Interdisciplinary Program for Biomedical Sciences” (IPBS), a government-funded commitment to graduate education. The goal of IPBS is to educate young scientists to undertake global-scale collaborations to develop effective treatments…

Virus Risk Mitigation for Raw Materials

Recombinant protein–based medicinal products and modern cell-based vaccines have a very strong safety history with respect to viral and microbial contamination. However, virus contamination incidents do occur occasionally in manufacturing processes, and they can consume many resources and be expensive to rectify. The root cause of contamination incidents in recent years is most likely the use of contaminated raw materials. These include bovine serum contaminated with reovirus, epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus, Cache valley virus or vesivirus 2117; porcine trypsin contaminated…

Industry Adoption of Membrane Adsorbers

Membrane adsorbers (MAs) are the fastest-growing segment in single-use bioprocessing. But their future is not entirely certain. According to BioPlan Associates’ latest survey of biopharmaceutical manufacturing, the MA market has been growing at ~20% annually since 2006 (1). Paradoxically, however, the segment may not be a true “rising star.” Our study also shows that MAs remain among the least-often adopted devices among biomanufacturers. So the question of how and whether MA technology can revolutionize bioprocessing remains open. Market for Membrane…

A CMO Perspective on Quality Challenges for Biopharmaceuticals

    The global annual revenue for biopharmaceuticals has been growing consistently since 2001, accounting for 15.6% of the total pharmaceutical market in 2011. The global biopharmaceutical market was valued at US$138 billion in 2011 and is expected to surpass $320 billion by 2020 (1). The market for recombinant proteins now exceeds $100 billion, a milestone attained in 2011. Figure 1:  ()   Much of the growth in biopharmaceutical revenue is due to an increasing number and sales of recombinant…

New Paradigms for Process Validation

    Both the United States and the European Union have recently evolved guidance on how to execute process validation (1, 2) with the prospect of a more appropriate life-cycle approach. It goes beyond the traditional three to five lots run at the center point of proposed ranges for operating parameters. New approaches leverage product design and process development information. They facilitate adapting the quality by design (QbD) paradigm to allow for a science- and risk-based selection of critical process…