Upstream Validation

How QbD and the FDA Process Validation Guidance Affect Product Development and Operations, Part 1

    Earlier this year, the FDA issued its long-awaited process validation guidance document, which had been several years in development. It is well written and effectively articulates what many progressive companies have been thinking and doing for years. But many people in the industry are asking questions: How will it affect our process development programs? How will it affect the submissions and licensure of our products? And how will it aid in our commercial operations? Or will it have…

Implementation of the ASTM Standard for Manufacturing Systems Verification

In 2007, ASTM International (ASTM), formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials, published its “E2500-07” international industry consensus standard for conducting a risk-based design and qualification of good manufacturing practice (GMP) manufacturing systems (1). This guide incorporates risk- and science-based practices to focus on critical aspects affecting equipment systems throughout their design–qualification–operation lifecycle. Presentations at recent PDA and ISPE annual meetings indicate that the bioprocess industry is embracing E2500 to improve system designs and reduce costly validations.…

Top 10 Changes in FDA’s Process Validation Guidance

Two years after drafting a comprehensive revision of the 1987 process validation guidance, the FDA finalized the document this year. The revision elaborates on modern quality by design (QbD) techniques for developing a process, analyzing risks, and monitoring for control. The initial draft update remains largely intact, with some important adjustments focused on clarifying the FDA’s intent for how the industry is expected to validate its processes. 1 — Minor Changes: The guidance includes more references to the Code of…

Validation of Intermediate Hold Times

    Because of the molecular complexity and relative fragility of biotherapeutics, validated intermediate hold times are critical for their commercial manufacture. Manufacturers typically conduct studies to define acceptable hold times for process intermediates to determine acceptable hold times for in-process production samples. A validation study defines maximum allowable hold times for all intermediate process stages based on product-specific data obtained during a hold study. A systematic risk assessment can determine which intermediate hold points should be validated (1). Hold…

Distinctions Between Analytical and Bioanalytical Test Methods

Analytical methods used for characterization, release, and stability testing of biotechnological/biological products are often automatically referred to as “bioanalytical” methods by some in the field. Many times the term is used to distinguish between test methods applied to small-molecule chemical products and those for macromolecular, biologically based products. It seems sensible enough: We use analytical methods to test chemical pharmaceutical products, so aren’t test methods used for biopharmaceutical products therefore bioanalytical methods? Any way, who cares whether the term is…

Are Generic HCP Assays Outdated?

    Biomanufacturers face a conflict between low-cost generic host cell protein (HCP) assays and highly sensitive but more costly process-specific HCP assays that are usually not initiated until the proof-of-concept stage. But drug developers cannot expect sufficient sensitivity from most commercially available generic assays. For some companies, multiproduct HCP assays could offer a solution to the dilemma. Biopharmaceutical manufacture using genetically modified microorganisms and cell lines is typically associated with contamination by process-related impurities. One of the most important…

Isolation of Novel High-Osmolarity Resistant CHO DG44 Cells After Suspension of DNA Mismatch Repair

    Recent technological advances in cell line and bioprocess development have driven significant improvements in product titers and enabled scientists to accelerate product development timelines (1). Despite those successes, many limitations in developing cell lines for biotherapeutics remain. One example in fed-batch cultures is an apparent paradox: when cell growth is inhibited by high osmolarity after multiple additions of concentrated nutrients intended to enhance cell growth and protein production. Generation of novel host cells to overcome specific bottlenecks found…

A Modular Approach to Facility Validation

Biopharmaceutical manufacturers are striving to maintain productivity and profits while controlling increasing costs. Historically, validation has been seen as an expensive, non–value-added necessity to gaining regulatory approval to manufacture. Less often is it seen as a key element of an overall quality management system (QMS) that supports the safety, quality, and efficacy of end products for patients while also providing invaluable knowledge and experience for enhanced process control and management. When fully integrated with a QMS, a modular validation platform…

Automated Liquid Handlers As Sources of Error

Use of automated liquid handling equipment for rapid testing and reproducible screening of thousands of molecules, cells, and compounds has become an essential component of life-science laboratories across the globe. Along with an increase in such use, transferred volumes have shrunk, as demands increase on transfer accuracy and precision when aspirating, diluting, dispensing, mixing, and washing. Automated liquid handlers are generally used to increase the productivity and repeatability of volume transfer, but as discussed here, they are still prone to…

Encyclopedia of Rapid Microbiological Methods

Many different rapid microbiological methods (RMM) have been developed in recent years, although their acceptance and implementation in the pharmaceutical industry has been slow. To stimulate the integration of RMMs in the pharmaceutical industry, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) introduced the Process Analytical Technology (PAT) initiative in 2004. A year later, the Encyclopedia of Rapid Microbiological Methods, edited by Michael J. Miller, was published. Miller, senior research fellow in the manufacturing and science department at Eli Lily, recruited many…