Upstream Development

T-Cell Suspension Culture in a 24-Well Microbioreactor

Cell therapy promises revolutionary new therapeutic treatments for cancer and other serious diseases and injuries. For example, T-cell therapy response rates of >50% and durable complete response rates of 20% have been reported in patients with metastatic melanoma who had failed other therapies (1). In another example, sustained remissions of up to a year were achieved among a small group of advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients upon treatment with autologous T-cells expressing an anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (2). Numerous other…

Advances in Sensor Technology Improve Biopharmaceutical Development

Today’s biomanufacturing operations require constant management of biopharmaceutical process attributes throughout process development and production. Continuous online measurements of pH, dissolved oxygen (DO), oxidation–reduction potential (ORP), and conductivity (Figure 1) allow real-time industrial process monitoring and adjustment. These functions are crucial to process improvement studies and accurate, reliable manufacturing of high-quality products. Figure 1: () “In the pharmaceutical industry, it is extremely valuable to see how an attribute changes with time and correlate that change with parts of the process,”…

Liquid or Powdered Media?

For decades, innovations in research and production techniques have been driving forces in the biopharmaceutical industry. But market conditions fueled by the economic downturn over the past five years have increased regulatory burdens in the United States and Europe. Rising costs and risks associated with new drug development now require that biopharmaceutical companies manufacture their products more quickly and cost-effectively than ever before. To this end, companies are looking for new ways to reduce expenditures, increase profitability, speed research, enhance…

A Statistical Approach to Expanding Production Capacity

Contract manufacturer DSM Biologics — at its current good manufacturing practices (CGMP) facility in Groningen, The Netherlands — provides services for clinical development and commercial production based on mammalian cell culture technology (Photo 1). During the 2011–2012 year, the facility went through a major expansion project to enlarge its capacity and fulfill a growing customer demand. From a business point of view, the project had a well-defined target for future production capacity as well as investment volume. Photo 1: Photo…

Protein Scaffolds

The recent success of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) as therapeutic agents to treat cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other chronic inflammatory and autoimmune disorders (Table 1) has catapulted these once difficult-to-develop molecules to the forefront of modern molecular medicine (1, 2). The size of the global MAb market in 2008 was valued at almost US$28 billion. Industry analysts predict that the size of the MAb market will grow to almost $68 billion by 2015, with the largest growth occurring in…

Analysis of Bacterial Biomass Growth and Metabolite Accumulation

Mathematical modeling has been widely used in microbiology and biotechnology for several decades. The main objective of modeling is to find optimal conditions for microbial growth and biosynthesis of useful metabolites. We modified the well-known equation of Perth–Marr (1) — proposed to calculate the energy consumption of a substrate— to analyze the energy consumption by cells for growth and viability maintenance. Our study includes that theory along with our own development. Our initial modeling work was carried out with Yersinia,…

Process Optimization of Biosimilars Production Using NMR Profiling

With a compound annual growth rate potential of ∼52% during 2010–2015 (1), the global biosimilars market represents a significant driver in biologics development and manufacture. Increased competition, quality-by-design (QbD) directives, and rising costs are compelling biosimilars manufacturers to search for advanced technologies they can use in optimizing production processes to remain competitive and maximize new opportunities. Here, we discuss biomanufacturers’ needs for robust, standardized cell-culturing procedures that comply with QbD directives. We also describe an effective new NMR-based bioanalysis technology.…

Managing Cost Without Sacrificing Quality

    Over the past decade, significant pressures have threatened the future of many pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies. Increasing drug development costs, declining research and development (R&D) productivity, mounting regulatory setbacks, and looming patent expirations — with fewer blockbuster therapies on the horizon — are collectively challenging many businesses to stay profitable and competitive within the industry. Many companies are intensifying their focus on reducing operating costs, particularly within manufacturing operations. This trend is almost an omnipresent feature of management…

Developing an Integrated Continuous Bioprocessing Platform

    Continuous upstream processing (perfusion) is not a new concept in the bioprocessing industry. Genzyme, Bayer, Centocor, and other companies have been implementing perfusion processes for many years. However, interest is now growing for extending this concept to downstream operations to create fully integrated continuous processing. During the past year, Genzyme has presented on and published about its advancement toward the development of an integrated continuous system (1). The company has completed proof-of-principle development at laboratory scale with different…

Attaining Next-Level Titers in CHO Fed-Batch Cultures

    Taking full advantage of high cell-specific productivity of recombinant proteins requires use of robust fed-batch processes involving addition of one or more concentrated nutrient solutions. Proportionately large amounts of concentrated nutrient supplements are often needed to support the stoichiometrically balanced metabolic requirements of high-density cell cultures. Large feed additions ultimately dilute the final product at harvest, but attempts to minimize feed volumes often lead to multiple concentrated acidic and basic subgroups. Those impart additional complexity to manufacturing processes.…