Analytical

Opportunities and Challenges in Biosimilar Development

A biosimilar biotherapeutic product is similar (but not identical) in terms of quality, safety, and efficacy to an already licensed reference product. Unlike generic small molecules, it is difficult to standardize such inherently complex products based on complicated manufacturing processes. Table 1 describes the main differences between biosimilar and generic drug molecules. The global biosimilar market is growing rapidly as patents on blockbuster biologic drugs expire (Table 2) and other healthcare sectors focus on reduction of costs. Biologics are among…

Implementing Quality By Design in Analytical Development: A Case Study on the Development of an Anion-Exchange HPLC Method

The concept of quality by design (QbD) initially was outlined in ICH Q8 guidance for drug-product development and later in Q11 for drug-substance development (1, 2). Since then, the QbD concept was further expanded to the development of analytical methods. FDA issued a 2015 guidance on analytical procedures and method validation for drugs and biologics (3). Although the agency did not explicitly state the requirement for implementation of QbD in analytical method development, the concept is embedded in its section…

Special Report: Effect of Insulin on Cell Growth and Virus Production

Recombinant insulin is a key component in serum-free growth media for mammalian cells. It is used for the manufacturing of monoclonal antibodies, virus vaccines, gene therapy products and many other biological drug products approved by regulatory bodies worldwide, including FDA and EMA. Canada’s National Research Council (NRC) helps companies develop and commercialize new health technologies. Recently it partnered with Novo Nordisk Pharmatech to determine the effect of Insulin on cell growth and virus production. The results are detailed in this…

Advancements in Characterizing Therapeutic Protein Higher-Order Structure

Electrospray-ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) is a well-established tool for biotherapeutic analysis. It draws intact proteins or peptide ions into the vacuum of a mass spectrometer, where the ion mass is measured. Electrospray ion-mobility mass spectrometry (ESI-IMS) introduces ions into a low-pressure gas, where the effects of aerodynamic drag reveal their shape. This technique is just emerging as a valuable tool for characterizing intact proteins, even though for a decade it’s been the basis of a commercially available medical diagnostic test…

Aggregation from Shear Stress and Surface Interaction: Molecule-Specific or Universal Phenomenon?

Exposure to solid–liquid and air–water interfaces during production, freezing and thawing, shipment and storage of protein therapeutics may be a contributing factor in their degradation (e.g., aggregation, fragmentation) (1, 2). Surface exposure, particularly during manufacturing processes, often is accompanied by various degrees and durations of shear stresses originating from fluid flow and acting on proteins at interfaces. The magnitude and duration of shear rates depends on velocity gradients within each solution and varies significantly among manufacturing steps. On the low…

Strategies for Successful Sample Transfer

Nadine Ritter is president and senior analytical advisor of Global Biotech Experts, LLC and a long-time member of BioProcess International’s editorial advisory board. At a recent CASSS North American CMC Strategy Forum called “Methods on the Move: Addressing Method Transfer Challenges,” she discussed the biopharmaceutical industry’s logistical challenges of analytical test samples for drug substances and products. At the conference, BPI’s editor in chief Anne Montgomery met with her to discuss some key points of this topic. Logistics Challenges Montgomery:…

Enabling Faster Workflows with Protein Purification Technologies: Improvements in Chromatography and Electrophoresis

Purification of recombinant proteins is a critical step during protein therapeutics development. Protein therapeutics have a number of classifications based on their potential applications, including use as vaccines and diagnostics as well as for enzymatic, regulatory, or targeting activities (1). For all such applications, identifying and verifying protein purity is most important. Whether proteins themselves are therapeutics or the target proteins of interest, effective purification is essential in drug development. Since the introduction of recombinant proteins in the early 1980s,…

Evolving Bioassay Strategies for Therapeutic Antibodies: Essential Information for Proving Biosimilarity

The modern age of biologics began 35 years ago with the approval of Lilly’s Humulin product — a biosynthetic form of human insulin derived from recombinant DNA and microbial cell culture (1). Today, about a quarter (27%) of the drugs approved yearly by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) are biopharmaceuticals: primarily monoclonal antibodies (MAbs), but also vaccines, blood products, and (recently), advanced therapies based on genes and cells. A decade ago, the average…

Biological Characterization Using Protein Crystal Measurements

Monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) have become important therapies and are projected to generate US$125 billion in sales by 2020 (1). Given that potential revenue, biopharmaceutical companies are highly motivated to find novel ways to deliver their drug products and extend patent lifetimes. Many such therapies are administered intravenously at low concentration and large volumes (2). Althea’s Crystalomics technology facilitates delivery of traditional biotherapeutics with high concentration, low viscosity, and low volume by arranging a drug’s individual molecules in an ordered crystal…

Comparing Culture Methods in Monoclonal Antibody Production: Batch, Fed-Batch, and Perfusion

Recombinant protein manufacturing with Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells represents over 70% of the entire biopharmaceutical industry (1). In fact, human monoclonal antibodies (hMAbs) produced by CHO cells have played a major role in both the diagnostic and therapeutic markets for decades. One of the first human–mouse chimeric MAbs to obtain FDA approval was Roche’s rituximab treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and rheumatoid arthritis. Since that approval in 1997, scores of chimeric, humanized, and human MAbs have gained…