Upstream Processing

Cell Therapy Will Transform the Future of Medicine

The third annual IBC Cell Therapy Bioprocessing conference was held in Bethesda, MD, on 21–22 October 2013. It brought pioneers in the development of cell-based therapies together with companies that have enabling technologies, such as bioreactors, cell culture media, and advanced monitoring software. After the conference, I discussed the highlights and key themes coming out of the event with Dr. Phil Vanek, general manager of cell bioprocessing at GE Healthcare Life Sciences in Westborough, MA. Also an instructor for advanced…

Powders and Bulk Liquids

    The two major bioprocess fluids — culture media for upstream production and buffers for downstream processing — are classic single-use products. They are used once and then disposed of. The two basic options for both differ by physical state: powdered media and buffers (“powders” for in-house preparation of liquids by end users) and bulk liquid culture media and buffers, which are fully prepared by their suppliers (“liquids”). We conducted market research studies comparing the benefits and risks (value…

Cell Therapy Bioprocessing Technologies and Indicators of Technological Convergence

The cell therapy industry is undergoing a natural evolution from scientific curiosity into a commercially and clinically attractive opportunity (1). This evolution is by no means complete, and growing evidence suggests that its progression is driving significant developments in cell therapy bioprocessing — notably, convergence. Table 1:&#8 194; () Progressively, bioprocessing technologies primarily used in production of noncell-based products are being evaluated for cell therapy bioprocessing applications (2). Consequently, this process of convergence is leading to an increasing proportion of…

Activatable Immunoconjugates for Target Cancer-Cell–Specific Diagnosis and Therapy

In cancer treatment, early diagnosis and targeted therapies are assumed to yield the highest cure rates. However, most current methods are limited by their low sensitivity to early disease and a lack of specificity for targeted cell killing. Newly developed, activatable immunoconjugates assist in the accurate detection of cancer through in vivo imaging with high target-to-background contrast (1,2). They also provide for the possibility of highly specific, light-mediated treatment with minimal effects on healthy cells surrounding tumors (3). In fact,…

Single-Use, Continuous Processing of Primary Stem Cells

Many potentially therapeutic products involve the culture of stem cells. Their commercial success depends on the development of scalable good manufacturing practice (GMP) technologies that can both robustly and cost-effectively produce very large numbers of cells. Through many improvements and innovations in bioprocessing operations over the years, fed-batch suspension culture has remained the most common mode for large-scale biopharmaceutical manufacturing. However, some recent events suggest that may be changing (1,2). For the culture and expansion of stem cells, large-format adherent…

Single-Use Bioreactors and Microcarriers

Cell-based therapies hold promise for treating many acute and chronic diseases (1). Optimism surrounding that therapeutic potential has driven the initiation of multiple clinical trials in pursuit of such treatments. Procedures for preparing these therapeutic agents begin with selective isolation of cells from desired tissues. That is followed by ex vivo expansion of cells of desired phenotype and functionality. Once expanded to acceptable levels, cells are stored to preserve their viability during transportation to treatment facilities. The final step in…

North, South, East, and West

Electrophoresis is the basis of all blotting methods, and BPI Lab covered it last month (1). Electroblotting is a method for transferring electrophoretically separated proteins or nucleic acids onto a polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) or nitrocellulose membrane for permanence using electric current and a transfer buffer solution. This allows for analysts to further study them using probes, ligands, or stains. Capillary blotting is a variation designed to work with capillary electrophoresis. After electrophoresis the following are stacked in cathode-to-anode order: a…

Enabling Technologies

Many technological advancements in recent years have enabled companies to shorten time to market, to better understand their manufacturing processes, and to characterize their products well. In BPI’s December 2013 issue (pages 47–50), I reported on the first half of an informal reader survey about those technologies, with commentary from some survey participants and others. This month concludes with my examination of analytical, formulation/fill–finish, and facilities technologies. Analytical Technologies After writing several installments of our new “BPI Lab” series this…

Ready-to-Use Cryopreserved Primary Cells

Abiological measurement of drug activity is perhaps the most critical step in the series of tests required for product release both for clinical trials and the market. This evaluation plays an important role in the stability assessment of drug candidates. According to the International Conference on Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH) Q6B document, measurements of biological activity can be performed in defined animal models that demonstrate a measurable physiological change in response to…

IgM Purification with Hydroxyapatite

Hydroxyapatite (HA) has a long and successful history in the field of antibody purification, and it has worked well for immunoglobulin M (IgM) monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8). Applications range from initial capture to intermediate purification to final polishing. HA is best known for its superior ability to reduce antibody aggregates, but it also supports excellent reduction of DNA, viruses, and endotoxins. As IgM MAbs exhibit increasing potential in the fields of cancer and infectious disease and in stem-cell therapies, HA’s…