Laboratory Equipment

BPI Lab: Essential Technologies for Development, Characterization, and QA/QC

There’s a secret hiding in plain sight: many analytical methods and technologies initially designed for pre-clinical development have equally important applications in commercial development. BioProcess International and BioTechniques, sister publications and leading journals that combined, cover the entire biopharmaceutical process, from discovery to development and manufacturing, partnered to create this special eBook, highlighting and detailing fourteen analytical technologies that provide laboratory technicians and scientists with vital information to help project managers and engineers make educated decisions that ultimately affect every…

Advancements in Characterizing Therapeutic Protein Higher-Order Structure

Electrospray-ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) is a well-established tool for biotherapeutic analysis. It draws intact proteins or peptide ions into the vacuum of a mass spectrometer, where the ion mass is measured. Electrospray ion-mobility mass spectrometry (ESI-IMS) introduces ions into a low-pressure gas, where the effects of aerodynamic drag reveal their shape. This technique is just emerging as a valuable tool for characterizing intact proteins, even though for a decade it’s been the basis of a commercially available medical diagnostic test…

Enabling Faster Workflows with Protein Purification Technologies: Improvements in Chromatography and Electrophoresis

Purification of recombinant proteins is a critical step during protein therapeutics development. Protein therapeutics have a number of classifications based on their potential applications, including use as vaccines and diagnostics as well as for enzymatic, regulatory, or targeting activities (1). For all such applications, identifying and verifying protein purity is most important. Whether proteins themselves are therapeutics or the target proteins of interest, effective purification is essential in drug development. Since the introduction of recombinant proteins in the early 1980s,…

Modern Laboratory Design: Creating a Space for Effective Collaboration

When asked to envision a modern biotechnology laboratory, lay persons might describe what they’ve seen on an episode of CSI: Miami. Gleaming glass and striking colored lights might look good on television, but they are not what biological researchers need to do their work most effectively. Most of the real biological laboratories I’ve visited, in fact, have been stark, white, fluorescent-lit environments that more resemble something out of 2001: A Space Odyssey. But those are becoming passé. The newest concepts…

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…

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…

Assessing Flange Strength and Dimensional Variability

Plastic syringes are viable alternatives to glass syringes in the biopharmaceutical market. They have two main advantages over glass syringes: their break resistance (specifically on the finger flange) and their ability to maintain tighter dimensional tolerances and less variability (because of the flexible molding process). Both attributes are critical when a 1-mL long prefilled syringe is used with an autoinjector device. The high break resistance of plastic syringes can reduce the number of rejected units during a fill–finish process. And…

North, South, East, and West

Electrophoresis is the basis of all blotting methods, and BPI Lab covered it last month (1). Electroblotting is a method for transferring electrophoretically separated proteins or nucleic acids onto a polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) or nitrocellulose membrane for permanence using electric current and a transfer buffer solution. This allows for analysts to further study them using probes, ligands, or stains. Capillary blotting is a variation designed to work with capillary electrophoresis. After electrophoresis the following are stacked in cathode-to-anode order: a…

Enabling Technologies

Many technological advancements in recent years have enabled companies to shorten time to market, to better understand their manufacturing processes, and to characterize their products well. In BPI’s December 2013 issue (pages 47–50), I reported on the first half of an informal reader survey about those technologies, with commentary from some survey participants and others. This month concludes with my examination of analytical, formulation/fill–finish, and facilities technologies. Analytical Technologies After writing several installments of our new “BPI Lab” series this…

Analysis By Size and Charge

An early BPI Lab article addressed the power of liquid chromatographic separations for biopharmaceutical laboratory use (1). Such techniques separate biomolecules based on a number of different properties: size, solubility, hydrophobicity/-philicity, binding affinity. The next most powerful means of separation — and thus high-resolution identification — of nucleic acids and proteins/peptides is based primarily on electrostatic properties: electrophoresis. Although it doesn’t really work in a process or preparative setting, it is a fundamental technique in modern biopharmaceutical laboratories, where it…