The biopharmaceutical industry is challenged to continually deliver and maintain products in a cost-effective way while retaining regulatory compliance. An Agile approach to software development supports the need for an effective and efficient business. However, use of Agile in a GxP environment has been limited due to the perceived regulatory risk. This guide provides an approach that ensures delivery of software solutions while maintaining regulatory compliance. The approach uses the conventional validation plan and validation report, while adapting the design, build and test stages to provide an Agile approach. Using this guidance enables companies to implement software systems in a GxP environment while delivering to the business the benefits of cost, speed and quality with full regulatory compliance.
This Companion document, to be used alongside its original guidance 'Guidance on the use of Agile in a GxP environment'. It provides more practical advice on how to implement agile in a GxP environment. The Companion is less about ‘what is Agile’ but more ‘how to do it’ in the biopharmaceutical arena. The Companion details five levels to full Agile working that will help companies determine what level they are currently at and what they need to do to progress to the next stage. This approach will help companies understand how to implement Agile in GxP environments more rapidly and effectively.
This chapter of the first edition biomanufacturing technology roadmap published in 2017, describes the vision, scope and benefits that could be gained in the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry from the development and use of a modular and mobile approach to facility design and creating. To help the industry achieve this future state it describes the scenarios considered, the future needs, challenges and potential solutions as well as the linkages and dependencies on other parts of the roadmap. It considers the contribution that disruptive and emerging technologies can play and regulatory considerations before finalizing with conclusions and recommendations.
Since 2017, it has been mandatory for suppliers of APIs, excipients and packaging materials to register their material in China on the DMF registration platform. While many agencies ask for details of a component’s quality and its impact on products, the Chinese requirements for 'high risk' materials, such as those used in biopharmaceuticals, also ask for historical information that is typically proprietary which many suppliers are reluctant to share. This paper summarizes the requirements for raw materials in other ICH countries and compares these to the Chinese approach. The paper also lists all of the details needed for the Chinese registration of biopharmaceutical products' raw materials in a single place, to help suppliers register their products into this vast market.
Moving low bioburden drug substance manufacture from inflexible operations in a grade C environment to a modern, flexible multi-product facility in a CNC environment will result in significant reduction in costs for the industry. Such designs provide superior benefits like energy conservation, reduced facility capital and operating cost, shorter facility construction and qualification times, enhanced facility throughput and operational flexibility, reduced cost of goods and speed to market; all while maintaining the highest product quality standards. Capital costs may reduce by 45 per cent and operational costs by between 50 per cent (energy) to 100 per cent (Environmental Monitoring). This document reports on the learnings from bioburden reduction studies on hybrid (stainless steel and disposable) functionally closed bioprocessing systems developed over three years in collaboration with the Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC) at NC State University that support these developments. The study concluded that measures as simple as flushing with WFI may be successfully employed to effectively mitigate the risk of assembling and operating a modern hybrid closed bioprocessing system in a controlled, non-classified environment, and are more effective at preventing bioburden contamination than making an open connection in a classified cleanroom without a subsequent cleaning step.
As the maturity of digital manufacturing plants increases, so does the risk of a cybersecurity or other digital incident. A successful phishing attack, for example, could adversely impact manufacturing operations and potentially take a facility offline for hours, days or even longer. A company's ability to minimize the risk of a digital disaster in its manufacturing plants, and quickly restore operations if one occurs, is a vital area for investment to ensure delivery of drug products to patients. To do this, biopharmaceutical manufacturers must understand the cyber resilience at their differing plants and how each site fits into the context of their overall business.
This paper characterizes this framework, and the associated mixed environments, to illustrate the drivers and success metrics for the key functions of business management of information systems, and that of plant-floor instrumentation and controls engineering. For people working in this arena, this paper will help develop an understanding of this landscape and foster a cooperative approach to implementing network resilience and cybersecurity solutions that allow more robust and secure delivery of essential drug products to the market.
BioPhorum has developed a risk-based deviation management system (DMS). 13 member companies have implemented this approach, and summary data from these companies shows improved quality performance plus an average time saving of 22,200 work hours per site per year, which is equivalent to a $888k cost saving.
This guide outlines the work of the BioPhorum DMS Workstream in defining and creating a simplified and effective risk-based deviation management system with advanced RCA methodologies, and a track-and-trending process of low-risk events. It includes everything required to build a risk-based approach to DMS, including the business case for change, the new process, risk-based tools, and a detailed sharing of post-implementation benefit.
Conventional methodologies which conduct check-the-box “investigations” for every minor deviation, can lead to companies unintentionally instilling an over reliance on basic tools and running the risk of losing the point as to why deviation management is performed — to find and fix problems. They do little to help companies understand minor slips/lapses, nor do they enhance product quality or assure patient safety.
This article published in the BioProcess International, proposed this risk based approach and provides guidance on how to make track and trend work in away that is consistent with other companies involved in the program.
This risk based approach is based on dropping the investigation of each minor, low-risk events but effectively track and trending them, to free up significant resources to work on prevention, and driving improvement of quality at source.
This has been implemented successfully by early adopters and they have had successful inspections from multiple authorities.
This paper provides recommendations for quality oversight, manufacturing operations, and industry perspective of regulatory expectations to enable aseptic facilities to move toward real-time and continuous microbiological environmental monitoring, thereby reducing interventions and future replacement of Grade A settle plates and nonremote active air sampling. The replacement of traditional monitoring with biofluorescent particle-counting systems provides an improvement in process understanding and product safety and reduces operator manipulations, assuring product quality and real-time process verification. The future state pharmaceutical technology roadmaps include gloveless isolators with real-time and continuous monitoring for aseptic manufacturing.
This Excel spreadsheet tool compliments the guidance document 'Environmental monitoring: harmonized risk-based approach to selecting monitoring points and defining monitoring plans'. This allows the user to assess a room against six factors, the amenability of equipment and surfaces to cleaning and sanitization, personnel presence and flow, material flow, proximity to open product or exposed direct product contact material, the need for interventions/operations and their complexity, frequency of intervention and score them
This revised extractables protocol for polymeric single-use components in biopharmaceutical manufacturing is based on an extensive scientific review and represents the combined opinion of the biopharmaceutical manufacturers and, crucially, the supply chain. It will reduce costs and focus people on the important data points. The protocol provides guidance on the suggested methods for extractables studies, including sample preparation, extraction conditions, recording test-article sampling conditions, and reporting data from the analysis of extracts. Flexibility is built-in, allowing suppliers to alter many study parameters due to restrictions based on the use of SUS, physical form factor, chemical compatibilities, etc.
The new protocol includes significant changes to the 2014 version, including the removal of 5M sodium chloride and 1% Polysorbate 80 as extraction solvents, the elimination of the time-point zero interval, and the elimination of elemental analysis of 50% Ethanol extracts.
Forecasting and demand planning are not well develop or effective integrated between biopharma manufacturers and suppliers in comparison with other industries with complex supply chains. This inhibits the ability of the sector to develop effective and agile supply chains to support rapid growth of products and is a major cause of shortages and the remedial work needed to keep supply chains functioning and products available. Leading end users and suppliers have undertaken considerable work to find solutions to enable biomanufacturers and their suppliers to plan commercial biologic drug manufacturing more effectively. This Forecasting and supply planning: a best practice industry guide, and the companion assessment tool defines the participating biomanufacturers’ and suppliers’ perspectives of the current state of the industry, the roadblocks to success and takes a ‘blue sky vision’ of best practices and the business case for changing the current situation.
In order to define, prioritize and measure improvement opportunities across the industry, the Forecasting and Supply Planning maturity assessment enables organizations to assess their status in relation to industry norms and best practice. More importantly, an assessment’s results provide a blueprint for the strengths and weaknesses that an organization needs to address to elevate its forecasting and supply planning processes.
BioPhorum’s covid-19 Workforce Protection Survey was completed by the Senior BioPhorum Connect group, consisting of leaders and sponsors from the BioPhorum communities. It assessed how industry was reacting to covid-19 to identify and share best practices that would help guide its reaction to the crisis. This article looks at the detail of return to work (RTW) and asks specific questions on how the Senior BioPhorum Connect group is addressing issues such as the RTW criteria, phased approaches and a possible ‘return to lockdown’.
The management of knowledge in biopharmaceutical organizations has been recognized as an important challenge over recent years. Defining the pain points and designing successful knowledge management (KM) solutions have proven difficult. To address this challenge, BioPhorum Technology Roadmapping applied a KM best practice methodology to capture a process-based knowledge map for a major business process; this was performed by companies who develop and commercialize new therapies. The resulting assessment of knowledge flows revealed that there are significant challenges to both explicit and tacit knowledge flow across the control strategy and method development / technology transfer processes. Some generalized solutions have been proposed. As part of this work, a detailed spreadsheet tool was developed so that organizations can repeat this work on their business processes to understand their knowledge–flow issues and develop fit-for-purpose solutions.
The knowledge mapping tool is available here. Detailed instructions are available within the tool itself. The data in the sheet reflects that used in the illustrative example documented in the companion paper. The data is intended to be removed and replaced with end users data in support of their own KM efforts.
Independent industry surveys have shown that concerns about extractables and leachables are the number one barrier to implementing disposables technologies.There is clear regulatory guidance around what is required by regulatory authorities such as the EMA, yet to date there has been limited or no information (consensus or best practice) on how companies should do this.
Traditionally, biopharmaceutical facilities can take up to three to five years from design through qualification before they are ready for full operation. Such facilities are often product dedicated, requiring significant and costly modification to accommodate additional products once the original product lifecycle has ended. This inherent inflexibility has become a major concern for the industry, especially given the increasing pressure to reduce costs and quicken the speed to market. To address these concerns this paper proposes a standardized design approach around an example facility solution for 2,000L-scale mAb application. The example facility focuses on demonstrating how a modular design approach may be realized using various construction methods – including traditional stick-built, prefabricated and skid assemblies, as well as modular cleanrooms or complete modular building units – without requiring major reconfiguration. At the core of this investigation is the intent to align the biopharmaceutical industry around a common understanding and approach to the design and construction of manufacturing facilities that makes the capital project process more predictable by, reducing schedule durations, improving project cost certainty, increasing facility design repeatability and ensuring greater regulatory compliance.
In the manufacture of biologics produced in mammalian cells, one recommendation by regulatory agencies to help ensure product consistency, safety, and efficacy is to produce the material from a monoclonal cell line derived from a single, progenitor cell. The process by which monoclonality is assured can be supplemented with single-well plate images of the progenitor cell. In this paper the BioPhorum Monoclonality team highlight the utility of that imaging technology, describe approaches to verify the validity of those images, and discuss how to analyze that information to support a biologic filing application. This approach serves as an industry perspective to increased regulatory interest within the scope of monoclonality for mammalian cell culture–derived biologics
The National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) collaborated with BioPhorum to create and publish three technology roadmaps covering Vaccines, Gene Therapy and Antibody-Drug Conjugates/ Bispecific antibodies. Developed using the highly successful roadmapping process that led to the first edition of the BioPhorum Biomanufacturing Technology Roadmap. These documents compliment the original Technology Roadmap and detail the manufacturing challenges, technology needs and areas of opportunity in each of the three product categories with additional focus on US regulatory and workforce challenges.
For multi-product biopharmaceutical facilities, setting the acceptable level of process residues following equipment cleaning is an important regulatory, business, product quality, and patient safety consideration. Conventional approaches for setting an acceptance limit for process residues have been based on the assumption that the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) is chemically or functionally intact following the cleaning process. These approaches include Maximum Allowable Carryover (MAC) Health Based Exposure Limits and other “dose” or Permissible Daily Exposure (PDE)-based limits. The concept for cleaning acceptance limits based on intact product originated from the manufacturing of small molecule pharmaceuticals. In contrast biopharmaceutical products are large molecules that are likely to degrade and become inactive when exposed to cleaning conditions. Therefore, an alternative approach to setting cleaning acceptance limits for biopharmaceutical products based on the actual process residues that could potentially be present on production equipment should be considered. This paper, describes the methodology to assess and verify API inactivation during cleaning
The EMA guidance, 'Guideline on setting health-based exposure limits for use in risk identification in the manufacture of different medicinal products in shared facilities' goes against current best practice for product changeovers (PCO) in the biomanufacturing industry, This paper is a response that sets out the currently accepted practices and controls in an evidence-based justification to help companies validate and continue working towards their implementation. The paper promotes: limited or no sampling at PCO, supported by cleaning validation, the use of alternative methods for calculating limits, eliminating the need for a health based exposure limit (HBEL) calculation, the necessary use of additional programs (e.g. eye-sight testing) and the generation of a robust risk assessment that align with industry practices.
Product changeover is a process that prepares and configures the facility and equipment for the next manufacturing process, and includes actions taken to protect the subsequent process against contamination from the previous process. Historically, the change-over between two products within a multi-product facility has created a great deal of operational inefficiency. This paper shows how with the use of risk-based tools and supporting data, the changeover activities of multi-product facilities can be significantly reduced and, under well-controlled and characterized operations, concurrent manufacturing may be achieved. Specifically, the change-out of small parts and elastomers as well as the collection of changeover cleaning samples may be significantly reduced or eliminated. This article is primarily intended for the manufacture of bulk biologic drug substance; however, the principles may be applied to finished drug product as well.
The primary objective of any biopharmaceutical product changeover (PCO) program is to employ control strategies before, during, and after the manufacturing process which will minimize the opportunity for cross- contamination when switching between products. Evaluation of the need for an elastomer change out (ECO) should be considered as a segment of an overall changeover assessment. By understanding the actual value of ECO in terms of the overall PCO program, and the other systems and procedures that are in place that protect against cross contamination, the need for ECO for every product changeover is not necessary. The purpose of this paper is to review the practice of ECO at product changeover, evaluate the need for an ECO using a risk based approach, and provide rationale for justifying the reduction or elimination of ECO at product changeover. Based on the experience in six companies and the use of elastomers in over 10 manufacturing sites. It outlines that using a risk-based approach to outline the rationale for reducing elastomer change-out at the biopharmaceutical change over.
For multi-product biopharmaceutical facilities, setting the acceptable level of process residues following equipment cleaning is an important regulatory, business, product quality, and patient safety consideration. Conventional approaches for setting an acceptance limit for process residues have been based on the assumption that the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) is chemically or functionally intact following the cleaning process. These approaches include Maximum Allowable Carryover (MAC) Health Based Exposure Limits and other “dose” or Permissible Daily Exposure (PDE)-based limits. The concept for cleaning acceptance limits based on intact product originated from the manufacturing of small molecule pharmaceuticals (1). In contrast biopharmaceutical products are large molecules that are likely to degrade and become inactive when exposed to cleaning conditions. Therefore, an alternative approach to setting cleaning acceptance limits for biopharmaceutical products based on the actual process residues that could potentially be present on production equipment should be considered. In this paper alternative approaches for setting acceptable levels of process residue are described building upon the basis that API inactivation by the cleaning process has been demonstrated.
This guidance developed by BioPhorum's Reliability workstream enables biopharmaceutical companies to optimize their maintenance and calibration frequencies by assigning the correct ‘trigger’ for these activities. The intent is for the industry to move away from simply relying on time based maintenance routines. The guidance describes the various tools and processes available, as well as methods to implement change, illustrated by case studies. The Return on Investment (RoI) for optimization of maintenance frequencies is clear: direct reduction of maintenance man-hours and planned downtime, thus increasing plant availability. This translates to financial savings as well as increased production capacity.
Run a Google search on ‘Maintenance Excellence and Reliability Engineering’ will get an indication how prominent the subject has become within the corporate agenda. This is particularly true of the biopharmaceutical industry where such concepts are becoming more widely adopted in attempts to reduce risk and costs. While leaders are pressing for wider adoption, organizations are often slow to adopt because many of the concepts are counter-cultural. Reliability Engineers spearheading the change find themselves constantly challenging existing mindsets, having to educate the non-believers by introducing sound reliability concepts. Across a large organization this becomes a difficult and time-consuming task. This brief Survival Guide, goes back to basics, focuses on common misconceptions and introduces the key concepts behind Reliability Engineering.
Single-use technology is growing fast in the biopharmaceutical industry, but designing new single-use systems involves a long, iterative process between end-user and supplier to ensure quality, regulatory, and technical requirements are met. Wouldn’t it be convenient if all these requirements were captured in a toolkit? BioPhorum and BPSA have created templates aligned with industry standards (i.e. ASTM E3051) which will simplify the single-use design process. The Single-Use User Requirement (SUUR) Template helps end users to communicate process/application details and SU requirements to suppliers, who in return can affirm or describe their capabilities to meet these requirements. The Technical Diligence Templates are pre-populated with end-user requests for detailed information that describes how suppliers may fulfil specific user requirements. Supplier responses allow end users and suppliers to make informed decisions and reduce gaps in understanding. The Supply Chain Template allows end users to request supply chain-related information and gives suppliers with a dedicated document to respond to this request. These templates combine to provide the industry with a set of common user requirements, clarity on criteria for fulfilling these requirements, and a mechanism for transmitting supply chain-related information. Adoption of these templates will yield distinct advantages to both end-users and suppliers in terms of compliance, time, and efficiency. Quality and compliance is improved by documenting and aligning expectations. Further, the tools enable clear and consistent communication, fostering a right-first-time approach to the design of single-use components.
The complexity of the support networks needed to deliver biopharma products, makes good supply chain mapping (SCM) essential to ensure reliable drug product supply. This is especially the case given the impact that natural disasters, adverse weather and politics can have on supply chain security.
This guide from the Supply Chain Mapping workstream can be tailored to the needs of both suppliers and manufacturers and helps them map and master supply chain risk. The guide details reasons why companies should adopt the approach, an implementation model, a standardized questionnaire to collate and manage basic supplier data and a maturity model against which a company can assess its own level of supply chain mapping and understanding.
Technology transfer is a key foundational component in product commercialization. It is more than just the transfer of documents; it relates to all aspects of the transfer of knowledge and experience to the commercial manufacturing unit to ensure consistent, safe, and high-quality product. This is the first in a series of articles from the BioPhorum member companies discussing best practices and benchmarking of biopharmaceutical technology transfer. In this article, we provide the common terminology developed by BioPhorum to accommodate both transferring and receiving organizations. We also review the key elements of a robust technology transfer business process, including critical milestones. Finally, we provide a brief overview of the articles in this series.
The technology transfer of biological products is a complex process requiring control of multiple unit operations and parameters to ensure product quality and process performance. To achieve product commercialization, the technology transfer sending unit must successfully transfer knowledge about both the product and the process to the receiving unit. A key strategy for maximizing successful scale-up and transfer efforts is the effective use of engineering and shake-down runs to confirm operational performance and product quality prior to embarking on good manufacturing practice runs such as process performance qualification runs. We consider key factors to consider in making the decision to perform shake-down or engineering runs. We also present industry benchmarking results of how engineering runs are used in drug substance technology transfers alongside the main themes and best practices that have emerged. Our goal is to provide companies with a framework for ensuring the “right first time” technology transfers with effective deployment of resources within increasingly aggressive timeline constraints