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Lab of the Future: Manifesto: digital technology-based capabilities for the quality control (QC) lab of the future

Most quality control labs in biomanufacturing have not yet achieved digital transformation. Lab processes are often manual which is slow and leads to errors and variability as well as long lead times.

Now those traditional ways of working are further challenged by the drive towards inline monitoring and real time release testing, and by new cell and gene therapies with tiny batch sizes and short shelf-lives.

The lab of the future is digital and requires much stronger IT for demand management and process automation, increasingly informed by data analytics and connected to manufacturing operations. This will be enabled by stronger IT security and operations, systems interoperability and governance, and data aggregation using common models, analytics and visualization.

Huge changes in lab personnel skills and culture are needed to work with the systems and the data in these new ways.

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Connected data, cobots and smart scientists: how to create the lab of the future

Many will recognize that the biopharmaceutical quality control (QC) laboratories need much more digital enablement to align with the rest of the manufacturing environment. Issues range from a lack of automation and data not being captured automatically or consistently for advanced analytics. Change and industry collaboration is clearly needed – and a vision of the future has been delivered by BioPhorum through a new paper, Manifesto: Digital...

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How industry is returning to work during the covid-19 pandemic

As we continue to emerge from the covid-19 lockdown and try to find the ‘new normal’ in biopharmaceutical operations, BioPhorum members have been navigating how their businesses return to work (RTW). This was a key area in BioPhorum’s recent covid-19 Workforce Protection Survey that was completed by the Senior BioPhorum Connect group, which consists of the leaders and sponsors from the BioPhorum communities. The survey assessed how industry was...

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BioPhorum Connects senior leaders as they respond to COVID-19 crisis

Keeping in touch with peers and colleagues has never been more important. Sharing ideas, discussing problems and finding solutions are vital to counter the extraordinary COVID-19 pandemic. For the leaders of development and manufacturing supply chains, the priority has been continuity of supply and workforce protection. The urgency of the situation has led to rapid decision-making, new policy approaches and innovation at a pace that is unusual...

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Cyber security: Digital plant resilience assessment tool

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.

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Extractables testing of polymeric single-use components used in biopharmaceutical manufacturing

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.

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China: Registration of raw materials entering the composition or presentation of biopharmaceuticals

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.

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Product changeovers (PCO): Biopharmaceutical industry position on European Medicines Agency (EMA) guidance and expectations at product changeovers

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.

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Single-use user requirement (SUUR) toolkit

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.

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Modular and mobile: Improving the biomanufacturing facility lifecycle using a standardized, modular design and construction approach

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.

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