Product Characterization

Uniting Small Molecule and Biologic Drug Perspectives

    Cosponsored by CASSS (an international separation science society) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the January 2010 CMC Strategy Forum explored antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs), which are monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) coupled to cytotoxic agents. The ADC platform of products is being used more and more for clinical evaluation in oncology. More than a dozen companies are developing several types, including products conjugated with calicheamicin, auristatins, and maytansinoids. Such products use the specificity of a MAb to deliver…

Comparing H1N1 Virus Quantification with a Unique Flow Cytometer and Quantitative PCR

    A novel influenza A (H1N1) virus was discovered in Mexico in early 2009 (1). Infections from this strain led to declaration of a pandemic midyear, with about 61 million patients and 13,000 deaths reported by the US Centers for Disease Control (2). Although the pandemic officially ended in August 2010 (3), vaccines are still in demand to protect people against the H1N1 strain that is now expected to circulate seasonally for years to come. To best respond to…

Glycosylation of Therapeutic Proteins

    ACMC Strategy Forum held in Washington, DC, on Sunday 28 January 2007, focused on two topics related to protein structure and function. First, analytical techniques used in the glycan analysis characterization included recent advances and correlations among the various tools. And second, current understanding glycosylation’s functional relevance to therapeutic proteins was discussed in the context of its effects on biological activity, pharmacokinetics, and Fc effector functions (for monoclonal antibodies, MAbs). Progress has been made in the field of…

Risk Mitigation Through Improved Process Predictability

Unexpected events — whether catastrophic like the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico or a disruptive supply chain shortage — can change the future of a company. To prevent such difficulties or at least minimize their impact, life sciences companies spend millions of dollars on daily analysis of enterprise-wide risks. Whereas supply chain and logistics are traditionally a focus of risk analysis teams, manufacturing and quality teams are now charged with improving process predictability. Through process understanding, that not…

Protein Conjugates

  Methods and Materials Thanks to vendors large and small — such as Invitrogen (www.invitrogen.com), ProteoChem (www.proteochem.com), Sigma Aldrich (www.sigmaaldrich.com), Soltec Ventures (www.soltecventures.com), and Thermo Scientific Pierce (www.piercenet.com) — bioconjugation chemistry is a field of many options. For example, amine coupling of lysine amino-acid residues typically involves amine-reactive succinimidyl esters. Sulfhydryl coupling of cysteine residues uses a sulfhydryl-reactive maleimide. Photochemically initiated free-radical reactions offer broader reactivity. Most processes couple small molecules to proteins or proteins to one another (e.g., antibodies…

Protein Therapeutics and Aggregates Characterized By Photon Correlation Spectroscopy

    New biological entities (NBEs, therapeutic proteins such as interferons or antibodies) are much more complex than new chemical entities (NCEs), the classic “chemical” active ingredients. First, they are much larger. The average molecular weight of antibodies is ~150,000 g/mol. Second, most NBEs contain three-dimensional structural elements — with the protein secondary and tertiary structure being the most prominent, but quaternary structures are also known for some. The 3D structures are essential for correct bioactivity (1), but they are…

Microanalytical Techniques for Identifying Nonprotein Contaminants in Biologics

Proteins can aggregate at any point during pharmaceutical manufacturing. Regulatory agencies pay special attention to aggregates that can enhance immune responses and cause adverse clinical effects and those that can compromise the safety and efficacy of a drug product. Biopharmaceutical companies have stringent quality control (QC) procedures in place to ensure that their final products are free of contaminants and defects, including protein aggregates. Trained QC inspectors, however, can typically see product defects or particulate material only as small as…

Using In Vitro Assays for Therapeutic Enzyme Characterization

A number of biopharmaceuticals are enzymes that act in vivo on high-molecular substrates. It can be a challenge to develop in vitro methods for accurately assessing their biological activity. Interest is also developing in using enzyme kinetic parameters as product quality attributes under the quality-by-design (QbD) initiative. Among biotechnology therapeutics, the conventional method of expressing potency is in units/mg of biopolymer. For enzymes, a unit of activity was defined in 1958 by the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology…

Rapid Assessment of Vaccine Potency

The global vaccine market is growing annually by 16% and is expected to reach $21 billion by 2010 (1). Much of the predicted growth of this market is expected to come from the introduction of new vaccines, either against diseases for which no vaccine currently exists or as second-generation products to replace existing ones. Much research is still centered on developing vaccines to prevent infectious diseases caused by microbial and viral pathogens. This segment is being fueled by a number…

21st Century Vaccine Manufacturing

Establishment of standard production platforms can help vaccine development move a step closer to the commercial, technical, and regulatory benefits increasingly enjoyed by developers of monoclonal antibody (MAb) products. Three recent advances especially will assist vaccine manufacturing development: rapid analytical methods to support evaluation of process design and provide in-process control; and the establishment of supply chains and vendors across Asia for bioprocessing equipment and consumables that meet the highest international standards. Whereas some workers in the field may consider…