Facility Design/Engineering

Safety, Flexibility, and Efficiency

    International pharmaceutical and biotech companies are demanding solutions for current and future challenges of their industries — solutions that will stand the test of time while offering significant advances over current manufacturing techniques. Modern and highly proficient production lines for commercial manufacturing of parenteral drugs can represent a crucial criterion in the success of these companies. New and innovative high-speed filling lines for prefilled syringes present an excellent opportunity to meet current production demands. Following is an example…

Efficient, Flexible Facilities for the 21st Century

    A number of recent improvements in the engineering of high-titer expression vectors, in biopharmaceutical process development, and in facility construction have converged to present new opportunities for cost-effective, flexible, biomanufacturing facility construction. The evolution of requirements for biopharmaceutical facilities is driven by globalization of the biopharmaceutical industry, patent expirations of several blockbuster biopharmaceutical products, and the increasing shift in new product development away from blockbuster drugs and toward more personalized, niche products. An increase in product approvals (primarily…

Developing an Integrated Continuous Bioprocessing Platform

    Continuous upstream processing (perfusion) is not a new concept in the bioprocessing industry. Genzyme, Bayer, Centocor, and other companies have been implementing perfusion processes for many years. However, interest is now growing for extending this concept to downstream operations to create fully integrated continuous processing. During the past year, Genzyme has presented on and published about its advancement toward the development of an integrated continuous system (1). The company has completed proof-of-principle development at laboratory scale with different…

Toward Flexible Hybrid Facilities of the Future

    As the bioprocessing industry has shifted away from traditional stainless steel bioreactors and vessels toward single-use technology, a new breed of manufacturing facilities has arisen. Flexible facilities take full advantage of traditional multiuse technologies and combine them with increasingly popular single-use technologies, offering an ability to mitigate risk and decrease manufacturing timelines. Although some companies have made the choice to remain strictly traditional (multiple use) and others have moved fully into single use, the flexible hybrid format gives…

Establishing Strategic Supplier Partnerships to Facilitate Manufacturing Success

    In November 2009, Talecris Biotherapeutics announced an ambitious US$269 million expansion of its Clayton, NC, manufacturing facility. The company was subsequently purchased by Grifols, Inc. in 2011. Constructing a new facility with a state-of-the-art manufacturing process intended to generate clinical products involves top-notch project management, exceptional fortitude, and numerous supply chain decisions. Suppliers are often relied on to provide standard product support. When used effectively, they can be an invaluable resource beyond basic services. Additional support may include…

Lean Six Sigma

    About 10 years ago as a vice president of Avecia Biologics, I wrote an article for an early issue of BioProcess International looking ahead at likely changes in biomanufacturing (1,2,3). For the best part of the intervening period, Avecia Biologics and Diosynth slugged it out in the marketplace, each trying to grow its contract manufacturing business at the expense of the other. But in a life-altering two-year period between 2009 and 2011, both companies saw their realities and…

The Dinosaurs Can Evolve

    Barring fire, major earthquakes, or volcanic catastrophe, concrete is good for centuries — the Pantheon has been in continuous use since 126 AD. The long expected life and high initial cost of biomanufacturing buildings and equipment builds legacy into the system from the start. And the imperatives of launching a new biotechnology industry in the 1980s led to the building of many facilities within a few years to produce the first wave of recombinant DNA products. I spoke…

A Decade of Biomanufacturing

    The biopharmaceutical industry is emerging from four years of economic challenge in a very healthy state. Process improvements over the past decade have played a major role in keeping the industry healthy. Earlier this decade, most companies were more concerned about quickly getting their drug products to market than about strategically controlling costs of operations. But according to my group’s recent study, this has changed in most areas of manufacturing. In fact, although this year companies reported overall…

Implementing a Fully Disposable MAb Manufacturing Facility

    Biopharmaceutical contract services have seen some very important changes and growth in recent years, part of an increasing trend toward outsourcing by pharmaceutical companies both large and small. And we have seen a significant change in the types of services demanded by clients. In addition to typical services such as validation, analytical services, and training, for example, demand has increased for outsourcing of process development, mammalian cell culture, good manufacturing practice (GMP) production, and final formulation and filling.…

Ensuring Aseptic Processing Through Quality By Design

Assurance of sterility throughout drug manufacturing is paramount to patient safety. Drug products must be free of contamination from microbes, particulates, and chemicals. To that end, we see continued and increased regulatory scrutiny, with adoption of US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) standards outside the United States and the European Union. To consistently make microbe-free products, drug manufacturers must implement robust, validated processes that include sterilizing filtration. Sterilizing-grade filtration is used in a number of…