Upstream Single-Use Technologies

Better Cells for Better Health

Since its inception 35 years ago, the biennial meeting of the European Society for Animal Cell Technology (ESACT) has built on a tradition of combining basic science and applications into industrial biotechnology to become the international reference event in its subject matter. Every other year, this gathering of academics and industry professionals features a famously exciting social program and an extensive vendor/supplier exhibition specific to animal cell technology. ESACT meetings are much-anticipated international venues for information exchange, inspiration, networking, and…

Development and Qualification of a Scalable, Disposable Bioreactor for GMP-Compliant Cell Culture

During the past decade, single-use bioreactors have become widely accepted for use in cell culture process development and clinical manufacturing. Their key benefits over stainless steel bioreactors are flexibility, cost, and time savings associated with the reduction of cross-contamination risks (1). Here, we describe our approach to development and qualification of the Biostat STR single-use, stirred-tank bioreactor. Unlike other stirred single-use bioreactors, it offers a similar design to that of well-established, conventional (stainless steel) stirred-tank bioreactors. Disposability of the single-use…

Drug Products for Biological Medicines

Traditionally, the CaSSS CMC Strategy Forum meetings have provided a scientific focus on the development of biotech drug substances and their manufacture and characterization, leaving the development of drug product formulation and filling, understanding primary containers, and considering novel delivery systems somewhat out of scope. Over recent years, however, the importance of investing more science and technology into drug product development has become evident as different product types, higher protein concentrations, and doses and requirements for improved delivery of biological…

Single-Use Technology and Modular Construction

To enable broad, global access to life-saving biopharmaceutical products, our industry is facing significant pressure to reduce the overall cost of manufacturing and enable local manufacturing where possible. Combined with growing markets outside the United States and Europe and development of high-titer, high-yield processes, that pressure has led to a shift in the industry’s approach to facility design and construction. Today’s biopharmaceutical production facilities must be flexible, cost effective, and readily constructed with minimal capital investment and construction timelines. As…

Characterization of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) are a self-renewing population of adherent, multipotent progenitor cells that can differentiate into several lineages. The current definition of MSCs includes adherence to standard tissue culture plastic ware, expression of various surface antigens, and multilineage in vitro differentiation potential (osteogenic, chondrogenic, and adipogenic). hMSCs hold great promise as therapeutic agents because of their potential ability to replace damaged tissue and their immunomodulatory properties. Consequently, many clinical trials using hMSCs are currently under way in a…

Bioreactor Design and Bioprocess Controls for Industrialized Cell Processing

It’s official: The “Age of Cell Therapy” has arrived. A robust pipeline of cell therapies, with increasing numbers of both early- and late-stage clinical trials as well as FDA-approved commercial products that have entered the market already, strongly indicates that the cell therapy industry is poised to emerge as a distinct healthcare sector (1). Renewed investor interest and recent activity among major pharmaceutical companies suggest that this industry will rapidly develop the capability and capacity to be a highly competitive,…

Scaling Up Stem Cells

    Cell-based products are becoming increasingly important as potential biotherapies. Cell therapy is predicted to have a huge impact on the healthcare sector over the coming decades. Stem cells, in particular, are investigated as potential treatments for a diverse range of applications (such as heart disease and metabolic and inflammatory disorders) in which they might be used to restore lost biological functions. The cell therapy industry is starting to mature. Several emerging companies are now supporting late-stage clinical trials,…

Designing the Ideal Bioreactor with Single-Use Technology

    Bioprocessing companies are hoping for a brighter future in biologics manufacturing that will include ever-higher titers of vaccines and therapeutic proteins grown in cell culture. It would also facilitate bioprocess operations without the recurring challenges that stem from process scale-up and human error. Moreover, that future would also comply with increasingly stringent regulatory and current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) requirements while providing better cost controls than we see today. How far away is this future? Perhaps not too…

Large-Scale, Insect-Cell–Based Vaccine Development

    Vaccines are among biotechnological products characterized by continuous growth over the past decade. According to a 2011 report, the global vaccine market is expected to reach US$34 billion in sales by 2013 (1). Much development can be ascribed to vaccine treatments for cancer, autoimmune, and infectious diseases (which have risen significantly) as well as the growing worldwide population and emergence of new pandemics. Although to date the main health impact of vaccines is still in disease prevention, the…

Method for Preserving Cell Density and Viability in Two-Phase Fed-Batch CHO Culture

Risk of cell-culture contamination is a common concern whenever materials are added to or removed from a bioreactor. It is essential to maintain a sterile barrier and provide containment against intruding organisms during such operations. Many R&D and pilot-scale manufacturing tasks involve flexible, single-use processes with presterilized containment systems in nonclassified laboratory areas. Here, we examine a process that requires substantial manipulation of a culture — first completely removing and later returning the culture to a bioreactor during media exchange…