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As of early 2022, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic remains a substantial global health concern. Different treatments for COVID-19, such as anti-COVID-19 neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), have been developed under tight timelines. Not only mAb product and clinical development but also chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC) process development at pandemic speed are required to address this highly unmet patient need. CMC development consists of early- and late-stage process development to ensure sufficient mAb manufacturing yield and consistent product quality for patient safety and efficacy. Here, we report a case study of late-stage cell culture process development at pandemic speed for mAb1 and mAb2 production as a combination therapy for a highly unmet patient treatment. We completed late-stage cell culture process characterization (PC) within approximately 4 months from the cell culture process definition to the initiation of the manufacturing process performance qualification (PPQ) campaign for mAb1 and mAb2, in comparison to a standard one-year PC timeline. Different strategies were presented in detail at different PC steps, i.e., pre-PC risk assessment, scale-down model development and qualification, formal PC experiments, and in-process control strategy development for a successful PPQ campaign that did not sacrifice quality. The strategies we present may be applied to accelerate late-stage process development for other biologics to reduce timelines.


Jianlin Xu, Jianfa Ou, Kyle P McHugh, Michael C Borys, Anurag Khetan. Upstream cell culture process characterization and in-process control strategy development at pandemic speed. mAbs. 2022 Jan-Dec;14(1):2060724

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PMID: 35380922

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