Biotech Week Boston 2017 in Photos

If you were among the few that missed Biotech Week Boston 2017 then you missed a lot. The event, in its second year, was jam packed with insightful sessions, rooms filled with scientists, pharma innovators, sponsors and exhibitors.

We’ve gathered some of the best photos from BWB to recap the four-day event that ran September 25th through September 28th, 2017.

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The keynote speakers, J Craig Venter, Flemming Ornskov, James J. Collins, Dean K. Pettit and Tyler Jacks took to the main stage to share insightful data and new developments in bioprocessing and cell and gene therapy.

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Connecting Women in Bioprocessing with 3M at Biotech Week Boston

The unique Leadership Roundtable will explore diversity, opportunity for mentorship and career development with top leaders in the bioprocess industry.

View the full press release: 3M Biotech Forum Luncheon News Release

3M Separation and Purification Sciences Division (SPSD) with Biotech Week Boston are initiating a new event: the 3M Women in Bioprocess Roundtable Forum and Lunch, an opportunity for women scientists to share their work experiences with executive leadership in the bioprocessing industry.

Participants will network with pioneering leaders in the field, learn about bioprocess career trajectories, and create personal connections with women scientists and executives in a variety of companies.

The event will be held on September 27th where panelists will answer moderated questions from audience members registered for the event on the topic of pivotal career experiences and other key learnings for women in the industry.

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The future of biomanufacturing with Christian Eckermann, Boehringer Ingelheim

At BioProcess International European Summit, we sat down with Christian Eckermann, Head of Biopharma Austria and Member of the Biopharma Executive Committee at Boehringer Ingelheim, for an exclusive interview. We discussed next generation bioprocessing and facility implementation and the challenges that still need to be overcome to achieve it.

Watch the full interview above or here.

What are the biggest challenges that need to be overcome in bioprocessing?

CE: ‘One of the biggest challenges is…to be more effective in operation, but also in development; to have more effective high performance processes. Especially with the higher titres there will be a major press on downstream processing and there’s some innovation needed to improve the downstream part of it.

There are also some challenges with the new opportunities having new molecules, more designer molecules, moving away from the typical antibodies to biospecifics and other design formats. There is the development part to get to the market quickly, and the operations part with all the data there is a big opportunity and also a challenge to fully leverage that opportunity.’

Where do you see bioprocessing and facilities in 5 years? What are the biggest changes you expect to see?

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16 Million People (and counting) Saved From Paralysis

Poliovirus and one of the Science Heroes that made this Headline Possible: Eckard Wimmer, Ph.D.

Polio has been around for centuries – but it’s almost gone – thanks to the efforts of many scientists, such as Drs. Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin, as well as Eckard Wimmer, Ph.D., a National Academy of Sciences Scholar. Polio was first described clinically back in 1789 but it wasn’t until nearly a century later in 1894 that the first polio epidemic occurred. Polio peaked in 1952 when 3,145 people died and thousands more were paralyzed[1]. Around this time, the first vaccines were introduced which had a profound impact reducing the incidence of this disease and inspired one scientist in particular who went on to achieve breakthroughs in poliovirus after fleeing Berlin at the height of WWII, then later fleeing East Germany to continue his studies.

Dr. Wimmer, then a chemist, became fascinated by poliovirus as the first example of a self-replicating chemical and pathogenic entity, “a chemical with a life cycle”, and dug in to research its biology[2][3]. He and his lab were the first to sequence a eukaryotic RNA virus. They also elucidated its unique structure[4] (the first RNA virus to be linked to a protein later discovered to be involved in RNA replication) as well as to decipher the genetic organization of the poliovirus genome. These groundbreaking efforts enabled Dr. Wimmer to chemically synthesize the poliovirus genome – essentially becoming the first to successfully synthesize a living organism outside a cell[5]. In short, the world’s first test-tube virus was “born”, and, along with it, the dawning of the age of synthetic biology.

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Continuous Processes: Disposables Integrate Upstream and Downstream Processing – Featured Report

15-5-FR-Coverby Cheryl Scott, Senior Technical Editor, BioProcess International

Continuous processing is pretty much a “given” in many industries — even the larger pharmaceutical industry that makes synthetic small-molecule drugs. But the concept has only just begun to make inroads with biomanufacturers, who have until recently worked mainly in batch or fed-batch mode. Single-use technologies largely have enabled them to consider the possibility of process intensification and going continuous. In support of this month’s featured report, I asked contributor Margit Holzer, PhD (scientific director at Ulysse Consult S.a.r.L in Luxembourg) a few general questions on the topic.

One question often asked of perfusion and other continuous culture approaches is “How do you define a batch?” Some experts say it isn’t even necessary to do so. Others say you can describe batches in terms of time. What do you think?

HOLZER: It is important to recall that traceability of the whole batch history of a drug substance or product is absolutely necessary for CGMP production. So there is no choice. A batch also needs to be defined for continuous upstream operations. This becomes especially crucial during investigations or product recalls. In the case of continuous production, a batch may correspond to a defined fraction of production.

The batch size of a continuous upstream process can be defined, for example, by a fixed quantity (e.g., volume, mass, or activity units of product) of harvested product; the amount produced within a fixed time interval (e.g., hours of production, residence time) between harvests; or the number of cell generations or doubling times to be produced, collected, and further treated in downstream processing as one batch. In addition, a minimum titer and/or viability and/or other quality requirements can be specified as acceptance criteria for pooling with the harvested product to assure batch homogeneity. For all those cases, downstream processing capacity must be in line with the harvested quantity of material.

What’s the most challenging part(s) of downstream processing to do continuously? Continue reading “Continuous Processes: Disposables Integrate Upstream and Downstream Processing – Featured Report”

Who are the competent biomanufacturers?

by Nick Hutchinson

Once upon a time, this seemed like a very easy question to answer. Engineering companies designed facilities with stainless steel equipment to the user requirement specifications of their biomanufacturing customers. These biotech companies then operated the facilities, producing quantities of product to supply the market. They understood these products, having developed them in-house, and had designed, characterized and scaled-up the required bioprocess. They put in place the quality systems necessary to ensure the safety of their patients. In short, these biopharma companies were vertically integrated with competencies in developing, producing and marketing their products in a tightly regulated market. To better serve their customers they invested in manufacturing sciences leading to process innovations that lowered costs, increased throughput and improved product quality.

Leading biopharmaceutical firms still see biomanufacturing as a core competence. Amgen, to give one example, proudly states in its 2016 Annual Report that the company’s “long record of delivering reliable supplies of high-quality medicines with improving efficiency is a source of differentiated competitive advantage”.

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The ‘transformative power’ of gene editing, with David Sourdive, Cellectis

‘Gene editing has a very transformative power in adaptive T cell therapy. In gene editing, we can make T cells do much more than they would normally do without being engineered.’ In this far-ranging interview, David Sourdive, Executive Vice President of Corporate Development at Cellectis, outlines the exciting updates from Cellectis’ current CAR-T therapy projects, from manufacturing, to clinical trials. He details his hope for the future and highlights the challenges that working with T cells can bring.

The possibilities of using gene editing to leverage the power of T cells into ‘better killers’ to ‘overcome the defence mechanisms of tumour cells’ are clear for Sourdive. Whilst acknowledging the current successful use of autologous treatments, he believes the industry is moving towards the possibility of ‘real pharmaceutical off the shelf T cell products’. There is an undeniable enthusiasm from Sourdive about gene editing to ‘maximise the power of T cells’, which can develop treatments that will meet the standard of care that chemotherapies and antibody therapies have.

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