Product Characterization

Higher-Order Structure Comparability: Case Studies of Biosimilar Monoclonal Antibodies

Great successes for monoclonal antibody (MAb)–based biologics over the past decade have provided many valuable options for patients combating some of the most serious diseases in the world, including cancer and autoimmune diseases. MAbs and antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs) are among the fastest growing biologic segments in development, with hundreds of candidates currently under clinical study. Meanwhile, society is facing the challenge of increasingly higher costs in healthcare including the cost of pharmaceuticals. With an aging population in many parts of…

Site-Specific Characterization of Glycosylation on Protein Drugs

A large proportion of biotherapeutic products are glycoproteins. These include erythropoietin and other cytokines, antibodies, glycosyltransferases, and glycosidases, which together generate billions of dollars in sales worldwide. Such drugs are inherently complex. As new treatments emerge and biosimilars are evaluated, the need to better understand their molecular structures is more acute than ever. Therapeutic glycoproteins are typically produced as recombinant products in cell culture systems. Glycosylation is of major importance during development of these drugs because their glycan chains markedly…

Reference Standards for Therapeutic Proteins: Current Regulatory and Scientific Best Practices

Sponsors developing and manufacturing protein therapeutic products use a variety of analytical tests (e.g., cell-based potency and chromatographic assays) to assess quality attributes of their active ingredients and drug products. Those tests are used to assess product quality in a number of activities, including characterization, comparability, lot release, and confirmation product quality and stability. Reference standards play a critical role in calibrating and confirming the suitability of such tests and in helping analysts to draw scientifically sound conclusions from data…

Activatable Immunoconjugates for Target Cancer-Cell–Specific Diagnosis and Therapy

In cancer treatment, early diagnosis and targeted therapies are assumed to yield the highest cure rates. However, most current methods are limited by their low sensitivity to early disease and a lack of specificity for targeted cell killing. Newly developed, activatable immunoconjugates assist in the accurate detection of cancer through in vivo imaging with high target-to-background contrast (1,2). They also provide for the possibility of highly specific, light-mediated treatment with minimal effects on healthy cells surrounding tumors (3). In fact,…

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…

Development of Protein Capsular Matrix Vaccine Platform Technology

Polysaccharide vaccines account for about 30% of the total >$20-billion/year vaccine market. Despite efficacious vaccines in the field, diseases such as invasive Streptococcus pneumoniae and typhoid fever persist. Development of multivalent polysaccharide conjugate vaccines requires complex chemistries and multiple, expensive good manufacturing practice (GMP) process steps. Matrivax Research and Development Corporation is developing a protein capsular matrix vaccine (PCMV) technology that simplifies synthesis of polysaccharide vaccines with fewer process steps than are required by typical conjugation vaccine processes. Polysaccharide Vaccine…

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…

Comparability Protocols for Biotechnological Products

Comparability has become a routine exercise throughout the life cycle of biotechnological products. According to ICH Q5E, a comparability exercise should provide analytical evidence that a product has highly similar quality attributes before and after manufacturing process changes, with no adverse impact on safety or efficacy, including immunogenicity (1). Any doubt about data from such studies could translate into unforeseen pharmacological or nonclinical studies — or worse, clinical studies. Selection of analytical methods and acceptance criteria that will be applied…

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…