Upstream Development

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,…

Fine-Tuning ADCs for Best-in-Class Therapeutics

Antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs) use the targeting ability of a monoclonal antibody (MAb) to deliver a highly biologically active drug to diseased cells while sparing healthy cells, creating potent and effective therapies. This emerging class of novel drugs currently focuses almost exclusively on cancer treatment. Two blockbuster ADCs — brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris from Seattle Genetics) for treatment of rare lymphomas and ado-trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla from Genentech/ Roche, manufactured by Lonza) for treatment of HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer — have improved treatment…

Automated Mini Bioreactor Technology for Microbial and Mammalian Cell Culture: Flexible Strategy to Optimize Early Process Development of Biologics and Vaccines

The use of mammalian and microbial cells in the production of biologics and vaccines is well established, and the majority of the top 10 drugs are now manufactured in this way. There is a significant and growing pipeline of new biologics (1), which in combination with increased pressure on cost reduction and generic competition from biosimilars (2), means that many biopharmaceutical companies are looking for ways to improve productivity in their development laboratories to ensure that upstream processes are efficient…

Design of Experiments with Small-Scale Bioreactor Systems: Efficient Bioprocess Development and Optimization

Design of experiments (DoE) is one of the most valuable techniques for organized and efficient planning, execution, and statistical evaluation of experiments. Although a DoE investigation can be completed using several runs in one bioreactor, small-scale bioreactor systems designed for parallel operation (such as the ambr15 or ambr250 systems) provide the optimal basis to economically realize a series of experiments. Because of the multitude of interdependent parameters involved in applications such as cell line development, culture media screening, and the…

Consistently Superior Cell Growth: Achieved with New Polyethylene Film Formulation

During the past decade, single-use bioprocessing bags and bioreactors have gained a significant foothold in the biopharmaceutical industry because they offer a number of advantages over traditional stainless steel equipment, especially for clinical production, multiproduct facilities, and emerging economies. At the same time, some companies are concerned that plastic materials might release potentially toxic substances that could affect cell growth and product titers (1). In a worst-case scenario, they could even compromise drug safety when a company uses disposable bags…

Verification of New Flexsafe STR Single-Use Bioreactor Bags: Using a CHO Fed-Batch Monoclonal Antibody Production Process at 1,000-L Scale

In the past decade, single-use bioreactors have gained wide acceptance for biomanufacturing. The biopharmaceutical industry is increasingly interested in performing modern production processes in single-use facilities. That trend is driven by the time and cost benefits of single-use technologies, as well as the enhanced manufacturing flexibility they offer (1). With single-use bioreactors increasingly used in late-phase clinical trials and commercial production, their quality, reliability, and assurance of supply becomes more critical. Many industry experts consider process control of film and…

Targeting G Protein–Coupled Receptors with Biologics for Therapeutic Use, Part 2

In part 1, we summarized the advances made in new approaches developed to address the challenges of antigen generation for targeting G protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs). We reviewed the antibody and biologics pipeline with progress highlighted by some interesting case studies on new targets (1). Here, we conclude by reviewing progress attained with other biologics. Peptides Targeting G Protein–Coupled Receptors More than 50 peptide-based therapeutic products are commercially available, but very few of them have been derived from recombinant display technology.…

Expansion of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells: Using Microcarriers and Human Platelet Lysate

Cell therapy holds the promise of delivering the next generation of future medical breakthroughs. In this respect, multipotent progenitor cells such as human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) have attracted high clinical interest because of their ability to differentiate into various cell types and their immunoregulatory properties. Furthermore, hMSCs express only low levels of class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC I) molecules on their surfaces and are therefore invisible to a host’s immune system. Finally, hMSCs can actively suppress the innate…