Formulation

Tunable Half-Life Technology

While a constantly developing market puts increasing pressure on pharmaceutical companies to provide advanced and personalized therapies, the industry is investing heavily in the development of targeted biologics. The aim is often to take new therapeutics through clinical trials and to market as quickly as possible and to develop more novel, tailored drugs. One common challenge for many biologics is their short plasma half-life. That often leads to reduced bioavailability, meaning that an administered drug will clear from a patient’s…

Preformulation Development of a Recombinant Targeted Secretion Inhibitor

Our company carried out a preformulation study on a recombinant targeted secretion inhibitor (TSI) with contract research organization (CRO) Avacta Analytical. In this protein, the binding domain of botulinum toxin is replaced to broaden the toxin’s therapeutic potential and allow drug development to be targeted towards a specific disease. In our study, we took advantage of the high-throughput, microvolume protein analysis of Avacta’s Optim 1000 fluorescence and light-scattering instrument (which is distributed in the United States by Pall Corporation). It…

Understanding the Patient Journey

    The biopharmaceutical industry is abuzz with talk regarding a 2011 US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance on human factors and the mitigation of user-based risk in the development of medical devices (1). As expected, his talk is often accompanied by a sense of anxiety. Device developers and the growing number of biomanufacturers developing combination drug–device products now need answers to usability questions they are hardly familiar with. Wrong answers may have direct (and troubling) implications from a…

Polysorbates, Immunogenicity, and the Totality of the Evidence

    Protein aggregation underlies many deleterious effects for biotherapeutics. Principal among those are loss of efficacy, induction of unwanted immunogenicity, altered pharmacokinetics, and reduced shelf life. Consequently, aggregation-preventing surfactants are essential components of many protein formulations. They facilitate the development, manufacture, and stability of dosage forms by helping formulators manage protein aggregation and reduce interactions with container and delivery device surfaces. Monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) present difficulties with respect to aggregation because they usually require relatively high doses for therapeutic…

A Decade of Formulation

    Although no biopharmaceutical pills are yet on the horizon, formulation and delivery have advanced over the past 10 years. Formulators have new biophysical technologies and new product types (such as protein–drug conjugates) to work with. The most important issues haven’t changed much, though — from aggregation to stability, freezing to freeze-drying — although the FDA’s quality by design (QbD) initiative changes the strategies used to address them. Fragile proteins and other biologically sourced macromolecules need protection to achieve…

Fight Cancer with Nanotechnology

    Imagine a diagnostic test that sifts through millions of molecules in one drop of a patient’s blood to detect the tell-tale protein signature of a cancer subtype. Envision a drug “ferry” that doesn’t release its cytotoxic contents until it slips inside cancer cells — or a molecule or small panel of proteins that can reveal within days whether a cancer treatment is working. Bioprocess Applications of Nanoparticles ()   Researchers have created nanosized particles and devices that are…

Key Aspects of Enzyme Activity and Steady-State Kinetics

Living systems rely on enzymes to perform many essential functions for survival. One prime example is digestion, the conversion of food into energy. Each enzyme possesses specific requirements for the types of molecules that it can use as substrates or reactants to convert to products. Here, I provide some basic information about enzymes, explain their biochemical parameters (e.g., kinetic parameters) and significance for characterization, and review related assays currently available to the bioprocess industry. Lactose intolerance is a common enzyme…

Combination Products for Biotherapeutics

    Combination products (see the “Definition” box) are experiencing steady growth in the pharmaceutical industry. According to one report, about 30% of products currently in development are combination products (1). Expanding interest in such products can be attributed to manufacturers’ need to generate new market value for current products that will soon lose patent, requirements for long-term patient care, pressure to reduce healthcare costs, and consumer interest in localized drug delivery with improved therapeutic effectiveness (2). During the 2008…

Stability Considerations for Biopharmaceuticals: Overview of Protein and Peptide Degradation Pathways

To ensure product safety and efficacy, protein therapeutics must meet defined quality characteristics immediately after manufacture as well at the end of their designated shelf lives. Many physical and chemical factors can affect the quality and stability of biopharmaceutical products, particularly after long-term storage in a container–closure system likely to be subject to variations in temperature, light, and agitation with shipping and handling. Compared with traditional chemical pharmaceuticals, proteins are considerably larger molecular entities with inherent physiochemical complexities, from their…

Formulation Effects on Opalescence of a High-Concentration MAb

    Monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) are increasingly formulated at concentrations >100 mg/mL as a means to deliver a high dose in a low volume (1,2). Such high-concentration solutions are commonly opalescent (3,4), an undesirable characteristic of biopharmaceutical products for several reasons. Although it may be only aesthetic, opalescent products are not considered pharmaceutically “elegant.” Of more serious concern, opalescence may be a precursor to aggregation and indicate a propensity toward decreased product stability or quality. The term opalescent refers to…