March 2014 Supplement

Cell Therapy Will Transform the Future of Medicine

The third annual IBC Cell Therapy Bioprocessing conference was held in Bethesda, MD, on 21–22 October 2013. It brought pioneers in the development of cell-based therapies together with companies that have enabling technologies, such as bioreactors, cell culture media, and advanced monitoring software. After the conference, I discussed the highlights and key themes coming out of the event with Dr. Phil Vanek, general manager of cell bioprocessing at GE Healthcare Life Sciences in Westborough, MA. Also an instructor for advanced…

Cell Therapy Manufacturing

Fueled by a recent resurgence in public financing and compelling clinical data for indications as diverse as acute macular degeneration and pancreatic cancer, a growing number of cell therapies are driving toward pivotal clinical studies and commercialization. Although regulatory precedents have been set for various autologous and allogeneic products in the United States, Asia, and the European Union, regulatory guidance continues to evolve for a widening array of cell products. Adult stem cells (e.g., mesenchymal stem cells), embryonic stem cells,…

Cell Therapy Bioprocessing Technologies and Indicators of Technological Convergence

The cell therapy industry is undergoing a natural evolution from scientific curiosity into a commercially and clinically attractive opportunity (1). This evolution is by no means complete, and growing evidence suggests that its progression is driving significant developments in cell therapy bioprocessing — notably, convergence. Table 1:&#8 194; () Progressively, bioprocessing technologies primarily used in production of noncell-based products are being evaluated for cell therapy bioprocessing applications (2). Consequently, this process of convergence is leading to an increasing proportion of…

Advocating for Advanced Therapies

My sense is that we’ve come a long way and that 2013 was actually a very good year — perhaps maybe even the best year ever for regenerative medicines and advanced therapies. Clearly the financial markets have allowed us to do more in terms of raising capital to fund projects in this space, and we are seeing a growing interest in the sector in the investor community. We’ve seen a number of major financing events over the course of the…

Thinking Strategically

At the recent Phacilitate Gene and Cell Therapy Conference (27–29 January 2014 in Washington, DC), BPI’s editor in chief Anne Montgomery and publisher Brian Caine spoke with Richard Grant, executive vice president, life sciences, at Invetech (www.invetech.com.au); and Brian Hanrahan, program manager at Invetech. They and their colleagues were instrumental in advising us how to bring ongoing discussions of regenerative medicines into BPI four years ago for the first Cell Therapy Supplement issue. We asked them to comment generally on…

Single-Use, Continuous Processing of Primary Stem Cells

Many potentially therapeutic products involve the culture of stem cells. Their commercial success depends on the development of scalable good manufacturing practice (GMP) technologies that can both robustly and cost-effectively produce very large numbers of cells. Through many improvements and innovations in bioprocessing operations over the years, fed-batch suspension culture has remained the most common mode for large-scale biopharmaceutical manufacturing. However, some recent events suggest that may be changing (1,2). For the culture and expansion of stem cells, large-format adherent…

Effective Cryopreservation and Recovery of Human Regulatory T Cells

The list of conditions being targeted by cell therapies is rapidly growing, but commercializing cells for widespread medical use will require standardized laboratory practices. Development processes must be adapted specifically for cell-based drug products. Regulatory T-cell therapy represents a promising new frontier in the immunotherapy of autoimmune disorders, especially for patients who have been refractory to available treatments. Because of intrinsic fragility, cell therapy products can be highly sensitive to variations in manufacturing procedures. Standardization of drug-product cryopreservation and storage…