Pre-Clinical and Clinical Trials

Transformative Healthcare: The National Biomarker Development Alliance

A newly launched independent, nonprofit organization — the National Biomarker Development Alliance (NBDA) — will broadly engage leaders in industry, academia, patient groups, and government from across the United States. It was announced on 13 January 2013 at the National Press Club by the Research Collaboratory (RCASU) at Arizona State University (ASU). The mission of the NBDA is to address the complex and urgent challenge of creating standards needed for end-to-end, systems-based biomarker research and development (R&D). The alliance is…

Activatable Immunoconjugates for Target Cancer-Cell–Specific Diagnosis and Therapy

In cancer treatment, early diagnosis and targeted therapies are assumed to yield the highest cure rates. However, most current methods are limited by their low sensitivity to early disease and a lack of specificity for targeted cell killing. Newly developed, activatable immunoconjugates assist in the accurate detection of cancer through in vivo imaging with high target-to-background contrast (1,2). They also provide for the possibility of highly specific, light-mediated treatment with minimal effects on healthy cells surrounding tumors (3). In fact,…

A Sustainable, Single-Use Facility for Monoclonal Antibody Production

Pierre Fabre, the second largest independent pharmaceutical group in France, recently opened a new facility to expand its monoclonal antibody (MAb) production for clinical supply. The Antibody Biotechnology Unit (ABU) facility was designed to provide needed flexibility for adapting to various process and capacity changes, so it includes state-of-the-art single-use technologies. The facility was also built with sustainability in mind to minimize the company’s environmental footprint. The company integrated this plant into an existing antibody research and development (R&D) center,…

Benefits of Business Process Management

The biopharmaceutical sector is synonymous with innovation. There is a general sense, however, that biomanufacturers often don’t “have their houses in order” when it comes to adopting efficient processes, communications, and reporting tools. Indeed, many companies still rely on outdated methods to support areas such as research and development (R&D), manufacturing, clinical trials, and sales and marketing. That is especially true now that the biopharmaceutical sector is undergoing an acquisitory revolution of both rival companies and products. The industry has…

Development Strategies for Novel Vaccines for Infectious Diseases

In a vaccine development program, the probability of success at each transition decreases, even though the actual probability of moving from one phase to another can be 50–80% (Figure 1). Many compounds and vaccine candidates are screened out even before they get into preclinical studies. Developers can implement different approaches to reduce product failure risk before a program gets expensive, including Establishing a product development plan (PDP) Identifying and mitigating risk with gap analysis Learning from the mistakes of others…

Cellular Communications

Like spectroscopy, as discussed in BPI Lab last month (1), cell signaling is not a laboratory technique but rather an area of scientific study. The environment of living cells — whether prokaryotic or eukaryotic, in vitro or in vivo — comprises not only water, nutrients, waste products, and metabolites, but also molecules released by other cells in response to intracellular events such as microbial infection and disease state or environmental factors such as temperature, osmolality, and pH. Receptor proteins on…

In Vitro Functional Testing Methods for Monoclonal Antibody Biosimilars

The pressure to contain rising healthcare costs — combined with the number of innovator biologic drugs coming off patent (30 licensed biological drugs by 2015) — offers huge opportunities for developers of biosimilar products. In 2011, the global market size of the biosimilars industry was around US$2.5 billion. Global demand for such products — and monoclonal antibody (MAb) biosimilars, specifically — is estimated to grow at 8–17% from 2012 to 2016 (1). The advent of biosimilars should bring more affordable…

The Role of Medical Affairs in Moving from R&D to Commercialization

Bringing a new pharmaceutical product to market is a unique process based on a number of requirements for supporting a product launch. For a research and development (R&D) company, launching a product into market may seem to be an issue for someone else to handle in the far-distant future and at a much later time. But even at laboratory or early development stages, biotechnology companies should understand the language of pharmaceutical companies and know how that industry operates. Doing so…

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…

Preformulation Development of a Recombinant Targeted Secretion Inhibitor

Our company carried out a preformulation study on a recombinant targeted secretion inhibitor (TSI) with contract research organization (CRO) Avacta Analytical. In this protein, the binding domain of botulinum toxin is replaced to broaden the toxin’s therapeutic potential and allow drug development to be targeted towards a specific disease. In our study, we took advantage of the high-throughput, microvolume protein analysis of Avacta’s Optim 1000 fluorescence and light-scattering instrument (which is distributed in the United States by Pall Corporation). It…