Upstream Development

30 Years of Upstream Productivity Improvements

We recently completed an analysis of the past 30 years of industry progress in commercial-scale expression titers and bioprocessing yields. These basic measures of biopharmaceutical manufacturing efficiency also benchmark the technological progress made in bioprocessing over recent decades. Titer and yield improvements generally indicate related bioprocessing cost savings, something most commercial-scale manufacturers work to improve. This focus on efficiency and productivity has led to constant bioprocessing improvements even for long-approved and -marketed products. Our findings indicate that although upstream titers…

Bioreactor Design for Adherent Cell Culture — The Bolt-On Bioreactor Project, Part 1: Volumetric Productivity

The Bolt-on Bioreactor (BoB) project is an independent initiative aimed at developing and commercializing a bioreactor for efficient, automated culture of adherent cells in production of therapeutic cells and other biopharmaceuticals (1). After conducting thorough research on available culture systems for adherent cells, the BoB team believes that a successful alternative to existing devices must solve four major challenges. The first challenge has to do with volumetric productivity, the second with process automation, the third with containment and sterility, and…

Accelerated Product Development: Leveraging Industry and Regulator Knowledge to Bring Products to Patients Quickly

A Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls (CMC) Strategy Forum titled “Accelerated Product Development: Leveraging Combined Industry and Regulator Knowledge to Bring Products to Patients More Quickly” was held in Washington, DC, on 27 January 2014. Biological therapeutics in development are demonstrating remarkable results in the clinic for many indications. So companies are seeking ways to accelerate the approval of these therapies and rapidly bring them to market. Many such products take the form of well-characterized proteins (e.g., IgG1 or IgG2 monoclonal…

Ask the Expert: Accelerating Bioprocess Development Using Shake-Flask Metabolic Activity Data

with Dr. Gernot John of PreSens Precision Sensing GmbH Shake flasks are simple, low-cost devices widely used in screening and media optimization. The most widely measured parameter to determine biomass is optical density (OD). It is typically measured offline because no suitable equipment for broad range biomass measurements in shake flasks has been available. But a new, compact, SFR vario device from PreSens Precision Sensing can be placed under shake flasks to measure four parameters online: pH, O2 saturation, oxygen…

Ask the Expert – Optimizing Cell Culture Media Supplements: Using Design of Experiments for CHO and HEK293 Cells

with Francesc Gòdia (chemical engineering professor at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) Chemically defined media free of animal-derived components are required for bioprocess operations based on mammalian cells. Supplementation of commercial media with specific compounds was studied using a design of experiments (DoE) approach to screen the most efficient compounds for two cell lines and then determine their optimal conditions. DoE allowed simultaneous testing of several compounds to determine potential interactions among them in addition to their individual effects. Gòdia’s…

Immunoglobulin Fc-Fusion Proteins Part 2: Therapeutic Uses and Clinical Development

The potential therapeutic value of many proteins — including enzymes, receptors, cytokines, blood factors and peptides — can be realized by fusing them to the Fc region of human immunoglobulin G. Of the 46 monoclonal antibody (MAb) and MAb-derivative products approved by the FDA to date as human therapeutics, 10 are Fc-fusion proteins (Table 2). Among approved products, several structural variations are represented (Figure 4). In BPI’s October 2014 issue, Part 1 of this review examined the structure and manufacturing…

Reducing Timelines in Early Process Development – Using a Multiparametric Clone-Selection and Feed-Optimization Strategy

The market for biopharmaceutical products remains highly attractive to small biotechnology companies and big pharmaceutical corporations alike (1). Most leading market products are made using recombinant technology (2). Pressures are continually increasing on process development groups to reduce development costs and timelines for taking new clinical products forward from product research bench scale into initial clinical evaluation studies. For many years a recognized critical bottleneck in development of products from mammalian cell lines was selection and isolation of stable, high-producing…

Immunoglobulin Fc-Fusion Proteins Part 1: Their Design and Manufacture

Over the past three decades, 45 monoclonal antibody (MAbs) and MAb-derivative products have been approved for therapeutic use in the United States (Table 1). One class of antibody derivatives is growing in importance: Fc-fusion proteins. Many biologically active proteins, including receptor ECDs (see “Abbreviations” box), cytokines, enzymes, and bioactive peptides have very short serum half lives because rapid renal clearance limits their exposure in target tissue (and, consequently, their pharmacological effect). The primary reason for fusing a biologically active protein…

The Next Step in Homogenous Bioconjugate Development: Optimizing Payload Placement and Conjugate Composition

[Audio Recording] Bringing a new biologic drug to market is a long and expensive process, with research and development (R&D) cycles that can span up to 15 years and may cost over a billion dollars. Biologic drug development also involves significantly more complex manufacturing and CMC components than does development of small molecules. Nonetheless, the pharmaceutical industry is increasingly shifting its R&D efforts to focus on biologic drugs. According to a recent report from Tufts Center for Study of Drug…

Bioconjugation Reaction Engineering and Kinetics Simulation

Bioconjugates represent an important and growing class of pharmaceuticals that include PEGylated proteins, vaccines, and antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) (1–8). Numerous protein conjugation techniques exist (9). Among the more important conjugation chemistries used for protein therapeutics are N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS), aldehyde, and maleimide (10–13). To date, process development of industrial biopharmaceutical conjugation reactions has largely been empirical in nature. Typically, many experiments testing different reaction parameters are required to identify optimal process conditions. In some instances, nonmechanistic statistical models can be used,…