Manufacturing Contract Services

Critical Issues in Outsourcing to a CMO

Deciding to outsource biopharmaceutical manufacturing is a strategic decision with long-term consequences. Most companies deliberate carefully as they select a contract manufacturing organization (CMO). Because the factors involved in such deliberations vary widely among organizations — and they shift over time — my company has included an analysis of critical outsourcing issues as part of its fifth annual report and survey of biopharmaceutical manufacturing capacity and production (1). In this year’s study of 434 global biomanufacturing facilities, we found the…

Biopharmaceutical Quality Assurance

The basic concepts and reasons for quality assurance (QA) in biotechnology are, of course, the same as for the manufacture of any other medicinal product or device: to assure the safety of the patient. So, what’s different about biotechnology? The variety of products is vast — from well characterized proteins in production for the past couple of decades, to cell based products, genetically modified oncolytic viruses, viral gene vectors — and many more, with new innovations almost daily. Although their…

Comparing Mammalian Expression Systems

Almost every pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company in the world depends on the use of recombinant stable cell lines to enable drug discovery, development, and often manufacturing of biologics. It normally falls on multidisciplinary upstream development teams to attain this goal, requiring a wide variety of technologies and skill sets such as laboratory robotics, optical analyzers, molecular biology, and data processing. The large capital investment required to procure the equipment and expertise necessary to develop biologics can be cost prohibitive, which…

Want a Good Partnership?

One evening, during dinner with several colleagues, the topic of company collaborations and contract organizations came up. I related my own experiences as party to a failed effort and the lessons I’d learned. As our conversation continued, our late night conclusions were simple: Effective partnerships are the means by which we achieve market success, but building such partnerships is complicated. One mistake after another can quickly cascade into a company’s collapse. Here I review six ways to ruin your company…

CMOs Can Add Value to Outsourced Projects

Organizations outsource tasks to contract service providers for diverse reasons ranging from internal resource constraints (particularly in virtual or start-up companies) to overflow capacity, or to avoid or delay capital or resource investment. The scope of outsourced work varies from limited tasks such as an outsourced assay to complete process development and GMP manufacturing. In a highly competitive outsourcing market, customers expect successful and timely execution of the outsourced work, but they also seek “added value” to the overall program.…

Introducing Disposable Systems into Biomanufacturing

Single-use (disposable) systems are being considered and introduced into many biopharmaceutical processes because manufacturers have identified significant benefits they offer over traditional reusable systems. These benefits are often more evident when a new process and product are being developed. Lower capital expenditures, shorter development times for new facilities, and reduced validation costs are some of the reasons single-use technology may be selected. Here, a contract manufacturer’s case study is described in which an existing stainless steel system was completely replaced…

Biomanufacturing Capacity Use Showed Solid Performance in 2007

It appears that it will take more than just the subprime mortgage crisis to put a dent in biopharmaceutical manufacturing. Based on results of our latest annual report, capacity use in 2007 remained essentially steady for mammalian cell culture: at nearly two-thirds, 63.3% compared with 63.9% the year before (1). Capacity use represents the percentage of an industry’s production capacity that is actually in use. It measures how effectively manufacturers and industries are making use of their fixed assets. This…

Secrets to a Successful Validation Project

Three major elements comprise validation projects in the biopharmaceutical industry: cost, schedule, and quality. If you can work within a budget, complete activities on time, and maintain regulatory-compliant documentation, then you significantly increase your chances for a successful validation project. Here we suggest ways you can improve these essential measurements with the help of a third-party validation team to achieve favorable outcomes. Team Selection The first key is building a validation team. Cohesion is critical for successful project management. All…