Downstream Validation

Polysorbates, Immunogenicity, and the Totality of the Evidence

    Protein aggregation underlies many deleterious effects for biotherapeutics. Principal among those are loss of efficacy, induction of unwanted immunogenicity, altered pharmacokinetics, and reduced shelf life. Consequently, aggregation-preventing surfactants are essential components of many protein formulations. They facilitate the development, manufacture, and stability of dosage forms by helping formulators manage protein aggregation and reduce interactions with container and delivery device surfaces. Monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) present difficulties with respect to aggregation because they usually require relatively high doses for therapeutic…

Integrity Testing of Ultrafiltration Systems for Biopharmaceutical Applications

    Ultrafiltration (UF) is a membrane-based separation technology commonly used in the biopharmaceutical industry for concentration or diafiltration of protein solutions to remove low–molecular-weight (LMW) impurities or exchange buffers. The nominal MW limit of UF membranes ranges from 1,000 Da (1 kDa) to 1,000,000 Da (1,000 kDa). A target product is retained by the membrane while lower-MW solutes or impurities pass through (1). For a target product with a smaller MW than the impurities, separation is accomplished by allowing…

Prior-Knowledge Assessments

    Process characterization (PC) studies are experiments performed primarily at laboratory scale to demonstrate process robustness and provide data necessary for planning, risk mitigation, and successful execution of process validation (1, 2). These typically involve extensive, multifactorial testing designed to determine the effects of operational parameter perturbations and raw materials on process performance and product quality (1, 2). Product-specific information from development studies may be used to help guide PC study design; however, such information may be limited or…

Sterilizing-Grade Filter Sizing Based on Permeability

    Sterilizing filtration renders biotherapeutics free of biocontamination. In many cases, sterilizing-grade filters also reduce bioburden or facilitate closed or aseptic processing. They are used to filter active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), formulated bulk, cell culture media, buffer, additives, process intermediates, and so on. Such applications are often critical for ensuring a successful batch operations. Nonetheless, a significant amount of time and resources are typically not devoted to establishing filter sizing requirements for “simple” applications such as buffer filtration. Here,…

Integrity Testing of Sterilizing-Grade Filters

    Integrity testing of sterilizing-grade filters is necessary to reliably prevent damage to these sterile barriers from compromising the production of biopharmaceuticals. Documented integrity test results are essential to a manufacturing audit trail for releasing pharmaceutical products (1, 2). Accordingly, problems encountered during this testing can lead to considerable financial damages and substantial delays or even entirely prevent a production lot from being released to the market. Therefore, filter integrity testing is a critical step with high economic importance…

Retention of Highly Penetrative A. laidlawii Mycoplasma Cells

    Mycoplasma are infamous for contaminating cell culture lines at rates as high as 80% (1,2,3,4,5). For biopharmaceutical processes, the inadvertent use of contaminated culture medium or medium components can lead to contamination of an aseptic process-validation media fill or cell culture medium for a bioreactor (6,7,8,9,10,11). Thoroughly testing medium components before use is generally impractical because of the large volume of material in use. Frequently, culture media cannot be autoclaved (because of the presence of heat-sensitive components or…

Host Cellular Protein Quantification

Host-cell proteins (HCPs) are bioprocess-related impurities that may be present in intermediate or final biopharmaceutical products such as recombinant monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). Although the potential clinical and genetic effects of HCPs are largely unknown, studies have shown that HCPs may cause immune responses and adverse reactions in patients when present at sufficient high levels (1,2,3). Consequently, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Commission regulations require that the level of HCP in a bioproduct be quantitatively measured during manufacturing…

How QbD and the FDA Process Validation Guidance Affect Product Development and Operations, Part 1

    Earlier this year, the FDA issued its long-awaited process validation guidance document, which had been several years in development. It is well written and effectively articulates what many progressive companies have been thinking and doing for years. But many people in the industry are asking questions: How will it affect our process development programs? How will it affect the submissions and licensure of our products? And how will it aid in our commercial operations? Or will it have…

Use of Blast Freezers in Vaccine Manufacture

    Vaccines are powerful and cost effective prophylactic tools for protecting public health. The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) estimates that ~5.4 million lives are saved each year by the administration of vaccines for hepatitis B, measles, haemophilus influenza type B (hib), pertussis (whooping cough), yellow fever, and polio (1). According to the World Health Organization, seasonal influenza alone claims 250,000–500,000 lives every year globally, many of which could be prevented by more widespread vaccination with the…

Implementation of the ASTM Standard for Manufacturing Systems Verification

In 2007, ASTM International (ASTM), formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials, published its “E2500-07” international industry consensus standard for conducting a risk-based design and qualification of good manufacturing practice (GMP) manufacturing systems (1). This guide incorporates risk- and science-based practices to focus on critical aspects affecting equipment systems throughout their design–qualification–operation lifecycle. Presentations at recent PDA and ISPE annual meetings indicate that the bioprocess industry is embracing E2500 to improve system designs and reduce costly validations.…