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BPTC’s Frank Riske to give Keynote at PEGS Europe

Tuesday Oct 25, 2016

Frank Riske, Ph.D., Senior Consultant at BioProcess Technology Consultants will be delivering the Keynote Address entitled: Biopharmaceuticals: Past, Present & Future at the 8th Annual PEGS Europe Conference in Lisbon, Portugal. His presentation will cover the evolution of bioprocessing starting with the production of molecules such as insulin, HGH and alpha-interferon and bringing us up to today; a market dominated by monoclonal antibodies but where gene and cell therapy have become increasingly commonplace, biogenerics have made their mark and a number of new therapies are in the works.


Emerging Therapies: CMO’s Tackle Biomanufacturing Challenges

Monday Sep 26, 2016

Innovative cell and gene therapies and the resurgent interest in ADC’s (antibody drug conjugates) are emerging therapies that are creating these challenges. The roundtable discussion entitled; Outsourcing and Biomanufacturing Challenges for Emerging Therapies, at BIO 2016 focused on demands for CMO services associated with these therapies. Patti Seymour, Senior Consultant at BPTC moderated a panel consisting of Mark Angelino, bluebird bio; Chris Chen, WuXi Biologics; and Andreas Weiler, Lonza: three respected industrial strategic outsourcing thought leaders.

Topics addressed by the panel included forecasting the demand for CMO services and the associated issue of capacity planning. Within this context are the concerns about process design and control as well as regulatory framework related issues such as batch definition when evaluating centralized versus decentralized models for cell therapy. Another discussion point addressed the complexities of supply chain when managing four or more CMC programs per ADC product.

One approach to services planning suggested by the panel begins by sorting the preclinical and clinical pipelines in these therapeutic areas and identifying the short and long term technology implications and capacity needs. Everyone agreed these emerging therapies will represent a learning curve for CMO’s and embody a step-up in risk for both innovators and CMOs.

However, the panel agreed that allogeneic and autologous cell therapies, gene therapies with their associated viral vectors and delivery modes, and novel antibody-linker-toxin ADC combinations represent potent disease therapy options and have the potential to cure disease. These therapies are gaining traction and have great promise. BPTC has a number of client projects in all three areas and is witnessing rapid innovation within these emerging therapies.


Quality by Design (QbD): Seeing the Glass as Half Full

Wednesday Aug 10, 2016

by: Brendan Cooney

As the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry grows and becomes global, companies face demands to improve quality, while reducing costs and increasing output. The road to achieving these goals is through the adoption of QbD. A paradigm shift, when adopted by the FDA in 2004, QbD is modernizing the approach to pharmaceutical development by providing the industry with regulatory flexibility, increased development and manufacturing efficiency, and providing opportunities for innovation.


A recent article authored by BPTC consultant Brendan Cooney entitled; “Quality by Design for Monoclonal Antibodies, Part 1: Establishing the Foundations for Process Development”, describes the current best practices concerning the implementation of QbD in the manufacture of monoclonal antibodies. QbD is a systematic developmental approach that starts with a clear goal in mind and emphasizes understanding of how variability in both process and materials impacts the final product. Historically, product quality has been assured by either end product testing (drugs) or by strict and narrow control of the manufacturing process without a comprehensive understanding of the link between process parameters and product quality attributes (biologics). When QbD is properly implemented, quality is built into the process rather than being tested into the product, allowing for incremental process changes to be made within defined ranges without needing prior regulatory approval.


BPTC’s 2nd edition of “The Development of Therapeutic Monoclonal Antibody Products”, due to publish in September 2016, provides extensive coverage of QbD as applied through the CMC development cycle. This report provides a roadmap covering strategy, technical and regulatory requirements for the development of a monoclonal antibody product from initial discovery through the filing for first in human clinical trials.


FDA Doubles Down on QbD

Wednesday Jul 13, 2016

by: Brendan Cooney

After a 13 year gap the US FDA has updated its guidance on Comparability Protocols bringing it in line with contemporary thinking on modern pharmaceutical development practices. So what are the implications?

The key changes in this version of the guidance document involve updates to put the guidance in line with QbD, PAT, and Process Validation principles. FDA has long voiced its support for QbD to industry, but industry itself has not fully come around. For FDA to clearly state that things like continuous improvement, understanding the process, and risk management over the course of a product’s lifecycle are significant represents a shift from merely holding QbD up as an idealized model to actually spelling it out in what will eventually be a binding document. The potential for flexibility in product development offered by QbD is closer to being in reach with this guidance. FDA has made a clear statement that they are all-in for QbD with this document.

Comparability Protocols for Human Drugs and Biologics: Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls Information has, significantly, been brought into alignment with the principles of Quality by Design (QbD) outlined in ICH guidelines Q8(R2) Pharmaceutical Development, Q9 Quality Risk Management, Q10 Pharmaceutical Quality System, and Q11 Development and Manufacture of Drug Substance. The updated guidance has received a significant facelift, but, like renovators of a cherished historical home, the FDA has taken care to ensure that the foundations and original character of the document remain.

In Comparability Protocols for Human Drugs and Biologics: Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls Information the FDA shows the level to which it has embraced QbD and clearly wants people to take notice. The updated guidance contains notable references to the QbD guidelines listed above, as well as FDA’s Guidance for Industry: PAT and the 2011 Guidance for Industry: Process Validation. In some cases, the QbD guidelines are referenced directly, while in others the texts have a similar feel.

The Federal regulations that govern comparability, 21 CFR 314.70 and 21 CFR 601.12, have been updated four and six times respectively since 2003, when the comparability guidance was last updated. In addition to the QbD and federal regulation updates, new to Comparability Protocols is the inclusion of language that mandates the adherence to cGMP protocols when making any post-approval changes. This guidance is now relevant to anyone filing an NDA or BLA.

The greater embrace of QbD, PAT, and Process Validation may be easily absorbed for larger companies, but may place a significant burden on smaller firms with limited resources. It is, however, important to note that QbD principles should not be abandoned due to cost. Hiring a consulting firm to handle multiple aspects of the CMC operations or filing can be advisable and definitely affordable in the long run. As Ben Franklin quipped, “remember time is money”.


Opportunities for Continuous Manufacturing in Biopharmaceutical Production

Monday Jun 27, 2016

Thomas C. Ransohoff, M.S., Vice President and Principal Consultant at BPTC, gave a presentation entitled “Opportunities for Continuous Manufacturing in Biopharmaceutical Production” at the World BioPharm Forum 2016: Progress in Continuous Biomanufacturing, on June 28, 2016 held at Robinson College, Cambridge, UK. Tom’s presentation focused the potential benefits of continuous manufacturing in the production of bio/pharmaceuticals as well as the challenges in implementing these and other new technologies in the production of biopharmaceuticals. His presentation presented current trends in supply and demand for biopharmaceutical manufacturing capacity based on information from BPTC’s bioTRAK® database. Using this information, an analysis the application areas that represent the most attractive near-term opportunities for implementing continuous manufacturing in our industry were presented. Challenges specific to these application areas were also reviewed. Follow the link above for a pdf of Tom’s presentation.