Cell Therapies

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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,…

Emerging Platform Bioprocesses for Viral Vectors and Gene Therapies

Recent advances in molecular biology are expediting genomic sequencing to underpin precision medicine. Such progress is positioning gene and gene-modified cell therapy on the cusp of an extraordinary revolution in patient care for presently unmet medical needs — and a new therapeutic class that could rival monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) in importance. However, despite substantial strides made in clinical trials, the bioprocessing community is struggling to fulfill growing demands for biomanufacturing capacity to make gene and gene-modified cell therapies — including…

Cancer Immunotherapies: Fulfilling the Promise of Protein and Cell Therapies

With few exceptions, both small-molecule and biological cancer treatments have contributed only incrementally towards achieving long-term responses or outright cures. In this regard, emerging cell- and protein-based cancer immunotherapies represent game-changing strategies for treating even refractory cancer. With long-term responses now possible, medical science may be on the verge of delivering on the long-unfulfilled promise of making cancer a manageable disease. But impediments to commercializing cancer immunotherapies are substantial. Producing cell-based treatments entails substantial hands-on manipulation and perfecting the logistics…

Automation in Cell Therapy Manufacturing

The concept of automation conjures up images of robots on assembly lines or perhaps automobiles replacing horse-drawn carriages. In both examples, automation provides an ability to work tirelessly, with reproducible high-quality outputs at increased speed. For cell therapy, automation can be used to increase the scale of cell culture operations (e.g., bioreactors replacing flasks) and allow the use of closed systems that can protect cell products from contamination with adventitious agents from the environment or operators themselves. Closed systems also…