Host cell protein (HCP): Risk assessment tool and papers

Host cell protein (HCP) constitutes a significant class of process-related impurities in biological drugs. The complexity and diversity of residual HCP composition in biologics and the incomplete understanding of their potential impact also pose unknown risks besides some of the well-known risks from certain problematic HCPs. This can make the HCP risk assessment and management an industry-wide challenge.

Although attempts have been made to address these challenges in the biopharmaceutical industry, gaps still remain in terms of how to manage the risks associated with HCP during bioprocess development. To this end, a BioPhorum Development Group HCP working team consisting of several companies initiated a collaboration among its members to align industry best practices and generated a generic risk assessment tool to manage HCP-related risks identified during biologics development from both an assay development and process development perspective.

The full HCP tool kit consists of

Risk Assessment Tool.  Distinct from individual HCP identity-based safety risk assessment, this tool focuses on the manufacturing process through process development. The tool will help companies to tackle the risks associated with HCP within the development lifecycle. The intent of the tool is to provide a template that guides process development teams using a scientific knowledge-based risk control strategy, where process or assay changes may be deemed necessar.y to reduce the risks caused by inadequate removal of HCP upon experimental studies to assess impact of HCPs on product safety, efficacy, and stability.Companies implementing this risk management model can apply their own unique set of circumstances, products and experience to perform a more comprehensive and robust assessment of risk, identify the priority in which risk reduction steps should be applied.

Presentation.  Presented by Fengqiang Wang of Merck Inc. at the BEBPA HCP Conference, Risk Assessment Workshop, in Dubrovnik, 14 May, 2018. This authorised presentation explains the main themes of the HCP tool.

Papers.  The tool forms part of a more detailed analysis and discussion in a two part article "Host cell protein risk management and control during bioprocess development: A consolidated biotech industry review"  published in May and June’s 2018 editions of BioProcess International.

Part one available here 

Part two available here


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