Filtration

Nucleic Acid Impurity Reduction in Viral Vaccine Manufacturing

Commercial-scale viral vaccine manufacturing requires production of large quantities of virus as an antigenic source. To deliver those quantities, a number of systems are used for viral replication based on mammalian, avian, or insect cells. To overcome the inherent limitations in production outputs with serial propagation of cells, mammalian cells can be immortalized, which increases the number of times they can divide in culture. Modifications that immortalize cells are typically accomplished through mechanisms similar to those converting normal cells to…

Accounting for the Donnan Effect in Diafiltration Optimization for High-Concentration UFDF Applications

The biopharmaceutical industry is targeting high-concentration protein formulations to enable subcutaneous administrations. Such administration can provide better patient convenience than intravenous administration. One challenge associated with high-concentration formulations is increased electrostatic interaction between proteins and excipients. That is a result of increased protein-charge density at high protein concentrations. Such interactions can create an offset between excipient levels in final products and diafiltration buffers in ultrafiltration processes. The effect of such electrostatic interactions in a membrane process is known as the…

Effects of Pressure Sensor Calibration Offset on Filter Integrity Test Values

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European good manufacturing practices (GMPs) require integrity testing of sterilizing-grade filters for producing injectables and other biologics. The diffusion test (also called the forward-flow test) and bubble-point test (also called the disk test) of a sterilizing-grade filter are both filter-integrity tests. The accuracy of both relies on calibration of a pressure sensor in the respective integrity test unit. Calibration of the pressure sensor of a filter-integrity testing device is an essential part of quality…

Virus Risk Mitigation for Raw Materials

Recombinant protein–based medicinal products and modern cell-based vaccines have a very strong safety history with respect to viral and microbial contamination. However, virus contamination incidents do occur occasionally in manufacturing processes, and they can consume many resources and be expensive to rectify. The root cause of contamination incidents in recent years is most likely the use of contaminated raw materials. These include bovine serum contaminated with reovirus, epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus, Cache valley virus or vesivirus 2117; porcine trypsin contaminated…

Industry Adoption of Membrane Adsorbers

Membrane adsorbers (MAs) are the fastest-growing segment in single-use bioprocessing. But their future is not entirely certain. According to BioPlan Associates’ latest survey of biopharmaceutical manufacturing, the MA market has been growing at ~20% annually since 2006 (1). Paradoxically, however, the segment may not be a true “rising star.” Our study also shows that MAs remain among the least-often adopted devices among biomanufacturers. So the question of how and whether MA technology can revolutionize bioprocessing remains open. Market for Membrane…

Increasing Purity and Yield in Biosimilar Production

Current downstream processing strategies for recombinant proteins often require multiple chromatographic steps, which may lead to poor overall yields. Product purification can be especially difficult when a target protein displays reduced stability, forms isoforms or misprocessed variants, or needs to be purified from a complex mixture containing a high degree of contaminants. One technology that has been developed to tackle such limitations is based on custom-made chromatography matrices containing camelid-based single-domain antibody fragments. With a molecular weight of only 12–15…

Artifacts of Virus Filter Validation

Virus filters are used in biomanufacturing to ensure the safety of biopharmaceutical drug products. As part of filter implementation, manufacturers are required to validate that the filtration process can indeed remove virus. Validations are typically performed at contract testing organizations (CTOs) that are “equipped for virological work and performed by staff with virological expertise in conjunction with production personnel involved in designing and preparing a scaled-down version of the purification process” (1). Virus removal capability of a filtration process is…

Downstream Technology Landscape for Large-Scale Therapeutic Cell Processing

The cell therapy industry (CTI) is poised to grow rapidly over the next decade, treating millions of patients and generating annual revenues into the tens of billions of US dollars (1, 2). To meet that high-growth demand, large CTI system manufacturers (e.g., Corning, Nunc/Nalgene, and GE Healthcare) and leading contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs, such as Lonza) are developing and integrating new upstream technology platforms such as gas-permeable membranes and microcarrier-based bioreactors to significantly increase therapeutic cell culture productivity. As those…

Advocating an Evolution

In a 2006 report, the US Department of Health and Human Services hailed regenerative medicine as “the vanguard of 21st century healthcare” and “the first truly interdisciplinary field that utilizes and brings together nearly every field in science” (1). To fuel support for regulatory, legislative, and reimbursement initiatives in this new therapeutic class, a small group of scientists, life science business executives, patient advocates, and other experts formed the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM, http://alliancerm.org). Starting with 17 charter members,…

Performance of a Salt-Tolerant Membrane Adsorber in Flow-Through Mode

Monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) have become the most prevalent therapeutics in the biopharmaceutical industry. Their downstream purification typically involves protein A chromatography as a capture step followed by one or two additional chromatographic polishing steps. Additional unit operations dedicated specifically for viral clearance (e.g., viral inactivation and filtration) are added to ensure product safety. According to a survey of Amgen processes, after processing through a protein A column, only trace amounts of impurities such as Chinese hamster ovary cell protein (CHOP)…