RXIX Session Topics

Oral session 1:   Respice, Adspice, Prospice – Past, Present and Future Case

Jennifer Pollard, Merck & Co
Todd Przybycien, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

The pace of innovation in downstream bioprocessing is accelerating, driven by new upstream capabilities, new modalities, new technologies, new computational tools, new competition, new encouragement from regulators and new thinking. We’ve advanced from interferons and insulins, to monoclonal antibodies and virus-like particles, and beyond to CAR-T cells and exosomes. A natural consequence is that techniques and methodologies have been evolving, being discarded or replaced by newer strategies as our process knowledge and understanding have grown. It is important to recognize, however, that many current innovations have roots in and draw motivation from the past. Earlier processes that have gone through multiple rounds of process innovation may provide insights for newer challenges. Previous technologies that were not applicable may now be utilized to greater benefit given the change in expression systems, modalities, and cell line productivities. A greater diversity of expression systems may be able to take advantage of work done in the early days of bioprocessing, exploiting higher cell densities and titer to provide opportunities to leverage non-chromatographic unit operations. The newer portfolio of non-mAb related modalities may be able to adopt the same workflows and techniques established by platform antibody processes or traditional vaccine manufacture.

This session seeks contributions from both industry and academia on novel strategies, workflows or techniques that draw inspiration from the past. These can be utilized for new modalities or applied to more traditional product formats. Case studies should describe the technical inspiration drawn from the past, including an explanation of the prior technology and usage in its historical context, as well as show the application of the technology in its new form with a line of sight to future applications.

Oral session 2:   A Call to Arms: Biotechnology’s Approach to Address
the COVID-19 Pandemic

Anne Kantardjieff, bluebird bio
John Moscariello, Juno Therapeutics, a Celgene Company

Throughout history, nothing has killed more humans than infectious disease. While no one could have predicted the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19, it has long been highlighted how the world was not prepared for a pandemic (Example - Walsh, B. “The World Is Not Ready For The Next Pandemic, Time Magazine, May 4, 2017). With everything that COVID-19 has caused, including the delay to Recovery XIX, we are fortunate that this coronavirus occurred at a time when we have a myriad of treatment and vaccination approaches to combat COVID-19.

This session will highlight the CMC journeys of organizations who are working to develop therapeutic molecules to address the current pandemic. We are looking for papers that will highlight the diversity of modalities, including mRNA, monoclonal antibodies, viral vectors, and vaccines and highlight the challenges in moving rapidly while also considering the global demand for these treatments. Specifically, this session will highlight innovative applications of process intensification, accelerated development, increased automation, leveraged regionalization and decentralization and increased outsourcing in order to meet the unprecedented demand brought about by the global pandemic.

Additionally, we are looking for papers that highlight collaboration between industrial, government and/or academic partners to join forces in the fight against COVID-19.

Oral session 3:   Separation Sciences in Advancing Novel Gene and Cell

Nooshafarin (Nooshie) Sanaie, Gilead
Andrew Ramelmeier, Sangamo Therapeutics

In recent years, cell and gene therapy has gained considerable attention as a new wave of therapies addressing unmet needs for a wide array of diseases with the potential for a cure. This session will focus on new advancement in both personalized (autologous) and universal (allogeneic) therapies as well as application of viral vectors for gene or cell therapies. Manufacturing and development of these wide scope therapies has introduced a new spectrum of challenges related to cost, market needs (personalized vs universal), indication type (large vs rare disease impacting manufacturing scale), supply chain management and geographical location, cryopreservation of cellular products, which can all evolve through the life cycle of the product.

A cursory review reveals the major role of recovery science in the design and development of these therapies compared to traditional biological products. Cell selection from the initial blood cell pool from the patient or a healthy donor to the final selection of the engineered cells, manufacturing of viral vectors both as gene therapy agents as well as gene enablers for gene-modified cell therapies, each present their unique challenges.

In this session we would like to hear contributions addressing the role of recovery on development and manufacturing of gene and cell therapy products which can include the following topics:

  • What roles can purification and recovery sciences play in cell collection, selection, enrichment, depletion and its automation and scale up?
  • What are the current challenges in viral vector production, scale up, impurity removal and downstream processes? How can these challenges be addressed using conventional technologies? What new approaches will need to come to bear to meet this need?
  • What are some unique considerations for cGMP manufacturing of gene and cell therapies (e.g. designing of multi-product facilities, automation and equipment design, scale-up/scale-out of processes)?
  • Can high throughout techniques get employed in the development and analytical aspects of the cell therapy and vector production?
  • What strategies can be implemented to improve throughput, process efficiency and reduce cost of goods (COG)?
  • How are the quality target product profile (qTPP) and subsequent critical quality attributes (CQAs) are defined, particularly for Cell Therapy?
  • Can predictive models be established to correlate properties of the starting cellular material to manufacturing and/or clinical outcomes?

Oral session 4:   Purification of Biologics with Chemical Synthesis Steps

Jayme Franklin, Genentech
Michaela Wendeler, AstraZeneca

Chemical synthesis steps are an integral part of the manufacturing process for a wide diversity of established and emergent classes of biologics, including antibody-drug conjugates, peptide and nucleic-acid based therapeutics, Fc-fusions, protein-polymer conjugates, synthetic polypeptides, and derivatized nanoparticles. The number of these modalities has grown considerably over the past years, and we must consider the unique challenges for clinical and commercial development in terms of impurity clearance, control of product homogeneity, and process consistency. Development of therapeutics containing both small and large molecule moieties requires a blending of development and manufacturing knowledge from both small and large molecule classes. In addition, as more of these molecules move into commercial process development, an integrated control strategy needs to be defined that links quality attributes of small molecule and biologics components to ensure that established quality attribute targets are met. Along with the broadening portfolio, the advancement of fully synthetic production routes for increasingly large molecules, as well as the adoption of cell free synthesis to generate complex biologics more rapidly and cost-efficiently require novel downstream approaches.

For this session, we invite contributions that explore the impact of a chemical synthesis step on downstream processing, as well as the scientific, regulatory, and business decisions that lead to the implementation of a robust process. We welcome case studies that address advanced control strategies, illustrate process evolution from early stage through commercial development, or address challenges associated with the synthetic production of larger molecules and the influence on purification processes and CQAs.

In addition, key questions to be addressed in this session include:

  • What downstream strategies are successful to control conjugate homogeneity and impurity clearance following a chemical synthesis step?
  • What downstream approaches are required for biologics produced fully synthetically or by cell-free synthesis? How do these operations impact CQAs, and how must we interface with the QbD paradigm for process optimization and characterization?
  • Which processes benefit from approaches that leverage both small and large molecule attributes for challenging separations?
  • What tools and technologies are uniquely enabling for efficient manufacturing of conjugated biotherapeutics and for process monitoring and control?

Oral session 5:   Manufacturability Assessment for Complex Biologics, Cells
and Gene Therapy Vectors

Hong Li, Merck & Co
Juergen Hubbuch, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Diverse and complex biologics, vaccines, cells and vectors for gene therapy comprise a significant and growing category for the treatment of human diseases. Early manufacturability assessment of these therapeutic candidates has been one of the critical aspects in selecting modalities that can be manufactured with a robust and cost-effective process, whilst at the same time meeting the expected quality target product profile.

Key elements in manufacturability assessment include among others the ability to produce the modality as such, the respective process productivity, facility fit and finally its stability during production, formulation and storage. Stability evaluation centers on the product’s physical stability, the propensity for aggregation, chemical stability & PTMs, and pre-formulation. Stability issues can occur at different stages of the overall manufacturing process and during scale-up, which can impact not only the yield and cost of the manufacturing but also the target product profile, drug delivery, and potential patient safety.

This session will focus on early biophysical characterization such as biomolecular modeling, surrogate/high throughput analytics and other approaches – both experimentally and in silico – that can be applied to evaluate, predict and improve the manufacturability of complex biotherapeutic modalities. Case studies where these tools have been successfully utilized to predict and mitigate development / manufacturing risks are encouraged, especially those with some surprising/novel elements.

Scopes of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • How can we accelerate traditional workflows? Strategic workflow, best practices and novel technologies applied in manufacturability assessment and risk mitigations, especially hard-to-predict biologics (for example, utilizing Quality by design approach, developing critical manufacturability assessment acceptance criteria);
  • What can be done in silico? Computational algorithms to predict aggregation propensity and chemical instability, as well as the correlation/predictability of these liabilities to productivity, and process yield; Structural modeling to accurately predict the surface properties of biologics, for example hydrophobicity and charge, assessing not only their solution behaviors, but also chromatography ligand interactions;
  • What experimental or analytical methods are there and how do we assess / analyze the data obtained? Novel experimental methodologies used in candidate formulation assessment and pre-formulation screening; empirically measured biochemical and biophysical characteristics that can provide prediction of accelerated and long-term stability behaviors.

Oral session 6:   All Roads Lead to Rome – But Which Roads Lead to
Accelerated Bioprocess Development?

Sophie Karkov, Novo Nordisk
Giorgio Carta, University of Virginia

Accelerating bioprocess development is critical to speeding up the rate at which new biologics move from the lab to the clinic and to assess early on the manufacturability of new therapeutic entities. This is especially critical when the need arises to respond to new and rapidly emerging threats to global health. Several tools exist to accelerate process development while new tools are being investigated to address the challenges of the increasingly lean environment in which new bioprocesses are being developed. High-throughput process development (HTPD) is a well-established tool for generating process-relevant data. However, handling the large amount of data accumulated and transforming the data into effective processes remains challenging. Hybrid approaches of combining HTPD techniques with mechanistic or statistical modeling for real-world process predictions are emerging. Moreover, integration of process analytical technologies (PAT) may facilitate process monitoring and adaptive control to further accelerate bioprocess development.

This session will address advances in HTPD and other tools for integrated process development across upstream, downstream and formulation. Predictive modeling of downstream processes supplementing HTPD data, tools that could potentially avoid the need for bench-scale experimentation and enable moving directly from HTPD to large-scale manufacturing as well as multidimensional monitoring of quality attributes for fast process development will be emphasized.

For this session, we invite contributions that address rapid process development in the following areas:

  • Current challenges and opportunities in bioprocess development
  • Tools to accelerate bioprocess development
  • Tools to accelerate path to regulatory approval
  • Smart paths from HTPD to manufacturing scale
  • On-line multidimensional monitoring of quality attributes in process streams
  • Collection and use of on-line and real-time data
  • Adaptive manufacturing and control
  • Integrated automation
  • Intelligent automation control
  • PAT and QbD

Oral session 7:   Big Data Analytics in Biomanufacturing

Steven Cramer, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Joey Studts, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG

The implementation of Big Data Analytics for biomanufacturing is having a significant impact on the way we carry out process research for biologics, development, and manufacturing as well as throughout product life cycle management. This has been due to advances in hardware and software for storing, processing and analyzing vast amounts of data as well as our need to address the challenges of distributed manufacturing and to define quality by design in a global setting. In order to fully employ data analytics in downstream processing we must have proper access to and use of data from research, development and manufacturing. It will also be important for our community to create a common “vocabulary” to describe our unit operations and processes. We will also need to create better understanding of our processes through integrated statistical evaluations and various type of models to establish sufficient platform knowledge for justifications of CQAs and Process ranges (CPP). This session will examine the state-of-the-art of Big Data Analytics and hybrid modeling approaches as they are being employed to develop, predict, diagnose and control downstream processes. We are looking for "real and executed" case studies from research, development or manufacturing that demonstrate the experience, risk and benefit of implementing the use of big data. Contributions that address the topics mentioned above as well as fundamental investigations and case studies in the following areas are encouraged:

  • State-of-the-art examples of creation and utilization of data lakes.
  • Advances in machine learning and AI and potential paths forward for their utilization in downstream bioprocessing.
  • Harnessing digital twins of unit operations and processes through the use of machine learning, hybrid modeling or novel AI approaches.
  • Using digital twins in concert with screening tools to expedite process development.
  • Improved data analytics based predictive tools for molecule properties and behavior throughout the purification trains.
  • Developing workflow analysis systems that will enable data analysts to include rich contextual and linking information.
  • Using big data as a basis for linking product knowledge and process understanding to improve process control and reduce deviations.
  • Use of data from and models of existing processes and manufacturing facilities to support trouble shooting and to improve productivity during life cycle management.

Oral session 8:   Future Facility Design Concepts

Lisa Connell-Crowley, Just Biotherapeutics
Victor Goetz, Eli Lilly and Company

The biologics industry has entered an era of rapid transformation that is fueling a divergent evolution of commercial production facilities. At one end, traditional mAb manufacturing is maturing towards highly automated, intensified processing in response to ever increasing cost/productivity pressures. At the other end, an explosion of new modalities and small-batch, personalized therapeutics require innovative new processes and facility designs. This session wishes to highlight the facility design concepts that define this transformation – from integrated, continuous bioprocesses, single-use technologies, ballroom designs, to modular, micro- and/or mobile facilities for on-demand or regional manufacture of patient-specific treatments.

In this session, we invite contributions across a broad range of modalities from mAbs and other therapeutic proteins to peptides, cell and gene therapies, exosomes, and vaccines that address topics such as:

  • What business drivers are considered in the design and building of new facilities, or renovation of existing facilities?
  • What facility design strategies are being implemented for new modalities and how do they differ from traditional mAb manufacturing?
  • What modalities demand entirely new facilities vs adapting existing facilities?
  • What are the regulatory challenges for future facilities and how can they be overcome?
  • Does a closed system operating in a ballroom environment alleviate pre-/post-viral segregation requirements?
  • How is multiproduct segregation assured when every patient is a distinct raw material as well as a distinct product?
  • Do micro/mobile facilities have their own unique regulatory and operational challenges?
  • Is it feasible to fully automate a micro facility at patient bedside such that a nurse could introduce a blood sample at one end and obtain a cell therapeutic at the other end?
  • What are the arguments for central vs regional vs mobile facilities for patient-specific therapies?
  • How can innovations such as PAT, advanced automation, comprehensive data collection, and AI, be used in future facilities?
  • How can sustainability be included as part of facility design and operation?

Oral session 9:   Impact of Diverse Expression Systems

Jean Bender, Visterra, Inc.
Ranga Godavarti, Pfizer

The last two decades have seen the emergence of monoclonal antibodies as the leading modality of choice for the majority of biopharmaceutical companies. Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) based production systems have been the dominant expression system and major advances in production platforms have been made. Continued usage of mammalian systems (in particular, CHO), is expected to be high due to existing infrastructure, significant history of safety and ongoing development of technologies aimed at simplifying and improving CHO-based operations. However, the product portfolios for most biopharmaceutical companies are becoming increasingly diverse with the inclusion of multiple modalities beyond just monoclonal antibodies. These modalities cover a wide spectrum of molecules and therapies such as bispecific/trispecific antibodies, recombinant and conjugate vaccines, viruses, virus-like particles, mRNA, and gene therapy (including plasmids/viral vectors). Production of novel modalities requires systems that extend beyond CHO expression. In fact, alternative expression systems such as bacteria, yeast, and hybridoma were used to manufacture some the earliest approved biopharmaceuticals. The diversity of expression systems ranges from mammalian expression such as Human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells to non-mammalian microbial systems such as E. coli or native organisms for production of vaccines to more non-conventional systems such as yeast, algae, plant, baculovirus or even cell-free synthesis. The breadth and diversity of the expression systems and production platforms brings unique and exciting challenges to bioprocessing.

In this session, we would like to explore the impact of diverse expression systems on purification strategies for the above-mentioned therapeutic modalities. In-process control methods and analytical strategies may also be discussed. The scope of the session includes the entire spectrum from early phase process development to late stage process characterization, technology transfer, and regulatory filing.

We are specifically interested in case studies that address:

  • What are drivers to evaluate alternative expression systems e.g. alternatives to CHO for mAbs?
  • What are some unique challenges of biologics production using diverse expression systems e.g. related to size, heterogeneity, multi-component complexity, novel impurities or others?
  • What novel technology solutions have been employed to overcome those challenges?
  • Any examples of development of fit for purpose control strategies and robust analytics?
  • Other than the challenge of developing recovery processes, what are barriers to wider employment of these expression systems? Does this depend on class of molecules? What technology gaps need to be filled for developing ‘platforms’?

We invite the submission of abstracts that address these questions comprehensively, i.e. as case studies that highlight the problem, the science behind the solution, and the implementation into practice.

Oral session 10:   New and Transformative Purification Technologies

Raquel Orozco, Bayer
Abraham Lenhoff, University of Delaware

In this session, we are interested in exploring the directions that companies and academic researchers are pursuing to meet future demands and enable manufacturing strategies. As the biologics industry continues to evolve and the market for mature products such as mAbs and vaccines becomes more competitive, companies are looking for ways to decrease cost and increase flexibility and efficiency while maintaining high quality. Additionally, non-mAb formats and new modalities such as cell and gene therapies have created new challenges that are not always readily solved with existing purification technologies and/or chemistries.

This session will evaluate the strengths of new purification technologies and will highlight the technologies required to enable future implementation to address business, scientific, technological or unmet medical needs. Innovations in any relevant unit operations are appropriate, including harvest, chromatography, and membrane or other non-chromatographic processes including new ligand and surface chemistries. Our goal is to assemble a session that spans diverse topical areas, ranging from, for instance, new downstream processing formats to design of novel separation materials by the versatile exploitation of molecular properties, with particular interest in enabling capabilities that have the potential to be as transformative and disruptive as Protein A ligand has been in monoclonal antibody downstream processing or crystallization has been for insulins.

Oral session 11:   Modelling Next Generation Supply Chains and Facilities: Envisaging the Challenges – Engineering the Solutions

Jan Griesbach, Roche
Nigel Titchener-Hooker, University College London

Over the next decades, new modalities and new variants of existing drug formats will need to be brought to market successfully. This will create new challenges as well as opportunities for bioprocess engineers. It will require re-thinking the way we approach the design of facilities to be more holistic, end-to-end in scope, flexible yet responsive and sustainable - a formidable challenge! We seek contributions that address a number of questions as set out below with industrially-relevant case studies which illustrate the ingenuity of our community so do not be limited by our imagination.

  • Cost of Goods (COG): How can modelling be used to help drive down yet further the cost of existing modalities, and for emerging areas such as cell and gene therapies what can we see as the cost drivers and our best ways to address these?
  • Sustainability analysis: Increasingly our design and operating philosophies will be driven by concerns with achieving robust, resilient processes with improved levels of sustainability. What metrics can we use to capture both the quality of designs and their environment impact; from concept to completion?
  • Facility models & designs: In an age of digital twins, machine learning and Industry 4.0, what insights can be gained through modelling of facilities? How can we use increasingly sophisticated facility models to aid decision making? How far can we rely on them and where might they let us down? Can we envisage truly sustainable facility designs that can adapt to new modalities whilst retaining efficiency, sustainability and robustness?
  • Supply chain management: Many newer modalities will require more advanced logistics if they are to realise their potential as biologics. What new approaches to supply chain design are needed and, for example, can we learn from other industries where “just in time” philosophies have been adopted? How will we respond to the emergence of stratified and personalised therapies where supply chains will need to be efficient and highly responsive?
  • The journey to commercialisation: Can we envisage ways to bring new modalities forward, safely, rapidly and at costs that make the approaches available at a truly global scale? What process modifications may be needed to enable next generation purification to be implemented in either existing infrastructure or in facility designs of the future?

We seek submissions that articulate the opportunities for bioprocess engineers, that illustrate the needs and which showcase the benefits of impactful approaches. Above all we want to provoke a debate that informs thinking in this critical area based upon real-life examples and experiences.

Poster session 12:   Poster Session

Marco Rito-Palomares, Tecnologico de Monterrey
Ana Azevedo, Instituto Superior Tecnico
Glen Bolton, Amgen

Learnings from the founding of biotechnology and the processing of early protein molecules have helped inform and shape the present state of purification, characterised by robust processes producing a diverse range of modalities (e.g. proteins, vaccines, and cell and gene therapies). We strive continually to enable a more rapid, automated, intensified, economical, portable, personalized, and digital future for processing these modalities. Innovative and diverse bioprocessing methods and concepts are vital to develop processes and manufacture medicines now and into the future. Contemporary technologies and platforms that can support a complex and ever-evolving manufacturing environment are important to bring forward for review and integration of ideas. We invite submissions that span the spectrum of bioprocessing topics: comprehensive fundamental research or implementation case studies incorporating experimental and/or theoretical/computational elements, or moonshot concepts, even at the alpha stage, that can revolutionize how we work, design and control processes. We are also interested in topical submissions related to rapidly enabling therapeutics after disease outbreaks.

The poster sessions continue to be a critical focus for technical discussions at the Recovery conferences, and insightful and creative submissions can maintain this as a vigorous component of the program. In addition to abstracts submitted directly to the poster session, including on topics not covered in the oral sessions, all other abstracts not selected for oral presentations will also be considered for inclusion in the poster program. We will be striving to ensure diversity in modalities and themes. We welcome submissions from academia, small and large companies, regulatory agencies, all geographical regions, junior and senior investigators etc.

New for RXIX:

1. All posters will be presented by authors standing next to flat screens using 16:9 landscape electronic presentations. All presenters must be able to provide an electronic file that meets these criteria at least two weeks before the conference. Files will not be shared and will be deleted after the conference.
2. Some poster presenters will be selected to give a short poster snapshot presentation. Prizes will be awarded to the best poster presentations.