Personalized Medicine

3D Bioprinting Possibilities and Challenges

Three-dimensional (3D) bioprinting is the newest addition to the regenerative medicine family. Now within the industry dedicated to providing more personalized drug products, this new additive-manufacturing technology has the potential to truly focus on individual tissue repair and replacement. In a short period of time, 3D bioprinting has been applied in studies using bones, blood vessels, composite tissues, vascular grafts, tracheal splints, cartilaginous structures, heart tissue (e.g., two-valve heart), and vaginal organs (1). With conference presentations and other studies discussing…

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…

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 of CAR-T Cell Adoptive Immunotherapy Bioprocessing: Technology Opportunities to Debottleneck Manufacturing

Continued clinical efficacy demonstrations of cell-based immunotherapies (iTx) such as chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapies has made the prospect increasingly likely of an immunotherapy product achieving conditional market authorization in the short term. For example, Novartis and the University of Pennsylvania’s lead candidate (CTL019) for treating a range of hematological malignancies received breakthrough status from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2014, permitting access to an expedited drug development pathway for high unmet medical needs (1).…

Therapeutic Gene Editing: Tools to Facilitate Basic Science or Stimuli for a Paradigm Shift in Biomanufacturing?

Historically, fundamental science and process engineering were separated by distinct vernaculars and a decade or more in the translation pathway of candidate therapeutics from laboratory to bedside (1). This crude metric holds true for the origins of the modern pharmaceutical industry, namely fine chemicals that supported the high-margin small molecules that constitute the majority of the pharmacopoeia even today. But as illustrated by deeply interwoven careers, companies, and technologies — including those related to monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) — that classic…

Collaboration Will Drive Regenerative Medicine: Toronto Development Center Will Help to Advance the Field

With support from the federal government of Canada, GE Healthcare and the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) are pushing into new frontiers to advance the progress of cell therapy and regenerative medicine. When I first met Michael May, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of CCRM, both our organizations had been exploring opportunities in parallel to drive the cell therapy industry forward. CCRM’s mission is to create and sustain a global nexus for company creation, technology and cell…

Clinical Supply Chain: A Four-Dimensional Mission

A clinical supply chain fulfills perfectly all four characteristics of what Packowski describes as a “VUCA” (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) world (1). In commercial markets, supply chains depend predominantly on consumer orders. For global drug development programs, both investigators and patients can be considered end consumers. The international journey of a specific investigational medicinal product (IMP) includes all of the following: global sourcing of comparators, manufacturing, storage, distribution, site/patient (consumer) management, and return and destruction of the IMP. Application…

The Potential Application of Real‑Time Release Testing for the Biomanufacture of Autologous Cell‑Based Immunotherapies

Cell-based immunotherapies (iTx) are emerging as a truly transformative therapeutic modality that is both complementary and convergent with existing regenerative medicine approaches, including gene therapy, cell therapy, and tissue engineering (Figure 1). Critically, iTx offer step-change improvements in efficacy compared with current standards of care (1) for a range of clinical indications and unmet therapeutic needs — particularly oncology. The clear efficacy of iTx is in contrast with some previous regenerative medicine approaches, including early mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapies…

Banking Cord Blood for Stem Cell Research

Cord blood is becoming an increasingly popular and important topic of discussion among expectant parents. It comes from a newborn’s umbilical cord and contains hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), which are the building blocks of a body’s blood and immune system. After a baby is born, cord blood is routinely discarded as medical waste — unless the parents choose to have what blood remains in the umbilical cord collected. Presently, more than 90% of cord blood is discarded, limiting the potential…

Transformative Healthcare: The National Biomarker Development Alliance

A newly launched independent, nonprofit organization — the National Biomarker Development Alliance (NBDA) — will broadly engage leaders in industry, academia, patient groups, and government from across the United States. It was announced on 13 January 2013 at the National Press Club by the Research Collaboratory (RCASU) at Arizona State University (ASU). The mission of the NBDA is to address the complex and urgent challenge of creating standards needed for end-to-end, systems-based biomarker research and development (R&D). The alliance is…