Cell Therapies

Figure 1: A cell-delivered gene therapy process begins with (1) apheresis, in which granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) is administered to stimulate production of stem cells and their release into blood. Small-volume apheresis is taken for CD4+ T-cell isolation, and larger volumes are taken for CD34+ hematopoietic stem progenitor cells (HSPCs). After (2) a cell isolation step to purify the desired cell populations (T cells or HSPCs), purified cells are transduced with a therapeutic lentiviral vector (3). Following harvest of transduced T cells and HSPCs (4), modified cells are collected and cryopreserved. Finally (5), genetically modified autologous cells are transplanted back to the same patient. Busulfan chemotherapy is administered before transplantation to create “space” in the patient’s bone marrow for the therapeutically modified cells.

Cell-Delivered Gene Therapy: This Viral Vector Manufacturing Method Could Widen Its Applicability

Cell-delivered gene therapy is making an impact on a range of diseases (1–17). To date, successful treatments have generally been in conditions involving genetic deficiencies/abnormalities, for which introduction of a normal gene allele has been corrective (1–12, 18). Such an approach requires a vector containing the normal allele to overcome the mutant or lacking gene. The vector of choice for cell-delivered gene therapy is often a lentivirus that integrates and expresses introduced therapeutic genes in host target cells and their…

fabricated with stereolithography from a biocompatible and biodegradable polymer

Engineering Tissues with Bioprinting

Commonly referred to as three-dimensional (3D) printing, additive manufacturing encompasses a set of technologies that fabricate objects in an additive way, layer by layer, rather than conventional means of fabrications that generally subtract unwanted material from a larger block. Precise control over material placement allows 3D printing to fabricate objects that otherwise would not be manufacturable. Although many of these technologies have been around for two or three decades, recently they have received a significant amount of attention from industry,…

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Progress Toward Commercial Scale and Efficiency in Cell Therapy Bioprocessing

Regenerative medicine includes both cell and gene therapies. Currently 672 regenerative medicine companies operate around the world, and 20 products have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Of 631 ongoing clinical trials by the end of 2015 (1), over 40% are in oncology, followed in prominence by cardiovascular and infectious diseases. Here I focus on gene and cell therapy bioprocessing in which the final products delivered to patients are cells. Cell therapies are either autologous (derived…

Figure 2: Starting material for modified T-cell production

Manufacturing Plasmid DNA: Ensuring Adequate Supplies for Gene and Cell Therapies

The concept of gene therapy is far from new, with initial studies performed over 20 years ago (1). However, in the past few years an explosion of interest in this area has gone beyond initial regenerative approaches using viral vectors. Interest is now moving increasingly into potential use of T cells modified using recombinant viral vectors for immunotherapy applications. Such therapies are based on using either adenoassociated virus (AAV) or lentivirus (1), both vectors being frequently generated through transient expression…

Figure 1: Affinity chromatography principle: target-specific ligands are chemically immobilized or “coupled” to a solid chromatographic support. The complex mixture that contains the target molecule with impurities is loaded over the affinity column, and the target molecule that has specific binding affinity to the ligands on the resin will bind. Impurities are washed away, and the bound molecule is eluted from the column, resulting in its purification from the original feedstock.

Innovative Downstream Purification Solutions for Viral Vectors: Enabling Platform Approaches to Advance Gene Therapies

Over the past decade, gene therapy applications and their importance in the biopharmaceutical industry have been increasing. Gene therapies promise versatile treatment options that could revolutionize and transform medicine. As treatment modalities, they offer the possibility of long-term and potentially curative benefits to patients with genetic or acquired diseases. Gene therapies are designed to treat disease by delivering genetic material that encodes a protein with a therapeutic effect into a patient’s cells. It can be used to replace a missing…

Figure 3: Maximum achievable lot size in cells per lot for each number of cells inoculated– total number of doublings combination; the starting number of cells is the initial number  of cells retrieved from a donor. The white region indicates maximum achieved lot sizes >1012 cells/lot.

Designing the Optimal Manufacturing Strategy for an Adherent Allogeneic Cell Therapy

Cell therapies (CTs) offer potential treatments for a wide range of medical conditions (1–6) by replacing cells, repairing tissues affected by either disease or damage (7), or delivering genetic or molecular agents that promote self-healing (8). CT research and development is continuously growing (9), with increasing numbers of CT candidates reaching phase 3 clinical trials (9–11). Developers aim to make products that can survive in a competitive landscape while complying with stringent regulatory requirements to control the quality and safety…

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Outsourcing and Biomanufacturing Challenges for Emerging Therapies: A Roundtable Discussion at BIO 2016’s BPI Theater

The biopharmaceutical industry is increasingly interested in a range of emerging therapies. “We’re really starting to get beyond the monoclonal antibody,” said Patricia Seymour (senior consultant with BioProcess Technology Consultants) in her introduction to a lunchtime BPI Theater roundtable at the 2016 Biotechnology Industry Organization annual convention in San Francisco, CA, this past June. The discussion brought together three industry insiders for strategic outsourcing to talk about emerging biotherapies and their manufacturing challenges: Mark Angelino (senior vice president of pharmaceutical…

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Contract Manufacturing of Cell Therapies: A Conversation with MaSTherCell’s Eric Mathieu and Thibault Jonckheere

The work of developing advanced medical products is spreading around the globe, and with it comes specialized contract services. Far from a “one size fits all” approach to development, and with few platform technologies yet available, contract service providers in the advanced therapeutics space must focus on helping to move promising science into good manufacturing practice (GMP) environments, but with regulatory pathways and eventual harmonization still under development. One company that formed to address the specific needs of cell therapy…

2,000-L stainless steel bioreactor

Bioreactor Manufacturing Platforms for Cell Therapies

As an increasing number of cell therapies move into late-phase trials, developers are considering innovative solutions to address scale-up and commercialization challenges. Many of their questions focus on the technologies and engineering strategies that will be needed to optimize their processes, especially bioreactors. At the January 2016 Phacilitate Cell and Gene Therapy World conference, Siddharth Gupta, a scientist at Lonza (Walkersville, MD), talked about the effects of upstream process decisions on product quality in his presentation “Bioreactor Manufacturing Platforms: So…

Figure 1: The cell therapy factory of the future

Factories of the Future: Can Patient-Specific Cell Therapies Get There from Here?

In many ways, patient-specific cell therapies (PSCTs) are still the “new kid on the block” in medicine. Researchers, therapeutic developers, manufacturers, regulators, and payers are still exploring and developing an understanding of the powerful benefits and unique challenges associated with this growing industry. As we all become more familiar with PSCTs, an evolution will need to occur — as it has for automobiles, computers, and every technological advance in human history — for these therapies to become widely adopted, cost-efficient,…