Emerging Therapeutics

eBook: Innovations in CRISPR Technology — A Perspective on Research and Bioprocess Applications

One of the fastest growing areas in genome engineering is research using the powerful editing tool of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR). When paired with the Cas9 (CRISPR-associated protein 9), an RNA-guided DNA endonuclease enzyme from Streptococcus pyogenes, the site-specific prokaryotic immune system can be used to cut and manipulate DNA strands in cells of patients with genetic diseases to treat, or in some cases, prevent such diseases. Within the past couple of years, CRISPR has been shown…

Therapeutic IgG-Like Bispecific Antibodies: Modular Versatility and Manufacturing Challenges, Part 2

Monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) are bivalent and monospecific, with two antigen-binding arms that both recognize the same epitope. Bispecific and multispecific antibodies, collectively referred to herein as bispecific antibodies (bsAbs), can have two or more antigen-binding sites, which are capable of recognizing and binding two or more unique epitopes. Based on their structure, bsAbs can be divided into two broad subgroups: IgG-like bsAbs and non–IgG-like bsAbs. We have chosen to focus on the former in this review. Part one provides a…

eBook: Bioinks for Bioprinting — Three-Dimensional Printing in Research and Medicine

Three-dimensional (3D) printing is one method of digital biomanufacturing for both basic biological research and translational, clinical applications. The medical field has used it to create such constructions as 3D surgical models for preoperative planning, to assist surgeons in their procedure preparations, which improves postsurgical outcomes. Examples here include generation of cleft-palate models (1), orthopedic applications (2), and cardiovascular surgical planning (3). Other forms of 3D printing for biological applications — such as 3D bioprinting — go beyond such surgical…

Therapeutic IgG-Like Bispecific Antibodies: Modular Versatility and Manufacturing Challenges, Part 1

Antibody-based immunotherapy has advanced significantly since 1986, when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first mouse monoclonal antibody (MAb) for clinical use: Orthoclone OKT-3 (muromonab-CD3). In the intervening years, researchers have applied the tools of genetic engineering to clone immunoglobulin G (IgG) genes into a number of expression vectors. In the 1990s, the bioprocess industry was able to produce fully human antibodies in cultured cells. As of June 2017, the FDA and the European Medicines Agency (EMA)…

Antibody–Drug Conjugates: Fast-Track Development from Gene to Product

In the fight against cancer, antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs) represent an increasingly important therapeutic approach. These biopharmaceuticals are designed to maximize the therapeutic index of cytotoxic small-molecule drugs through their selective delivery to tumor cells while leaving normal, healthy cells untouched. Structurally, an ADC is a monoclonal antibody (MAb) conjugated by a chemical linker to a potent cytotoxic drug. Conceptually, the MAb serves as the delivery component, targeting a specific tumor antigen that ideally is not expressed (or is expressed at…

Viral Vector Particle Integrity and Purity Analyses in Early Process Development

Gene therapy is the transfer of genetic material to a patient’s cells to achieve a therapeutic effect. Therapeutic DNA typically is delivered using a viral vector system, and adenoviruses have been used for this purpose for over 20 years (1–3). Within the past 10 years or so, lentiviruses have shown promise in clinical trials (1–3), and adenoassociated viruses (AAVs) have been used in the first approved gene therapies in the Western world (4). The number of gene therapy applications based…

Introduction: Emerging Therapies Come of Age

According to a 2017 industry report, 74% of biopharmaceuticals currently in development (phase 1–3) are possible first-in-class medicines (those that use a unique mechanism of action), thus representing a potential new pharmacological class of treatment (1). They include regenerative medicines, conjugated monoclonal antibodies (MAbs), and DNA and RNA therapeutics. Some emerging therapies — such as antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs) and biobetters — have been more at the forefront of discussions than others, but all are poised to bring exciting changes to…

Development Approaches to Adenoassociated Virus Production

After many years of development, gene therapy is beginning to deliver on its promises in the clinic, in some cases with spectacular outputs. Those clinical successes also have led to an influx of funding and engagement from large pharmaceutical companies, thereby bringing the required financial support and expertise for late-stage clinical developments and product commercialization. Although many initial studies were confined to small patient groups and focused on a range of rare monogenetic diseases, new approaches to gene editing have…

Process Needs of Antibody Fragments and Bispecifics: A Discussion with Jonathan Royce of GE Healthcare

Although the number of bispecific antibodies approved so far (two) and antibody fragments either approved or with an investigational new drug (IND) filed (∼20, both antigen-binding and variable) are far below the number of approved and candidate monoclonal antibodies (MAbs), research in both fragments and bispecifics continues to look promising. And as Jonathan Royce, business leader for chromatography resins at GE Healthcare, discusses here, both offer specific therapeutic advantages over MAbs. But manufacturers should be aware that their diverse structures…

Controlling Glycosylation in Fusion Protein Manufacturing to Generate Potent Biobetters

The pipelines of pharmaceutical companies are full of biological drugs. Many of them are innovative therapeutic proteins, but a growing number represent biosimilars and biobetters (Figure 1) (1). Biobetters typically are defined as being “based on innovative biologics but with improved properties” (2). Their development benefits from known therapeutic approaches and mechanisms of action resulting in low risk, fast paths to the clinic and thus lower costs. Superiority is achieved through extended half-life (t1/2), improved efficacy, and reduced immunogenicity or…