Thursday, March 28, 2024
February 7, 2024
Cell viability is one of the cell product quality and regulatory parameter that determines therapeutic efficacy. For example, the FDA mandates a viability threshold of ≥ 80% for the release of CAR T cells.
Nevertheless, in clinical trials and in commercial contexts outside the United States, the specified cell viability requirement is set at ≥ 70%. Real-world data reveals comparable efficacy and safety profiles between CAR T cell infusions with 60% to 79% viable CAR T cells and those with over 80% viability1.
The difference requirements within ATMPs might result due to the different guidelines available and the confusion, when to apply what standards. In the past, guidelines designed for standard drugs were extended for the younger ATMPs, like Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) guideline specific towards ATMPs were approved by the European Commission (EC) in 2017.
While EU GMP Annex 1 is considered nonbinding for ATMPs in Europe and the United States, questions arise regarding the relationship between Annex 1 and existing ATMP guidelines. The two most important standards for ATMPS are described in PIC/S Annex 2A: Manufacture of Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products for Human Use; and in Part IV- GMP Requirements for Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products of the EudraLex - Volume 4. EMA removed ATMPs from Annex 2 and made a new standalone set of regulations specific just for ATMPs in EudraLex Volume 4, Part IV.
In contrary, PIC/S (Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme) kept ATMP guidance in Annex 2 but split it into Annex 2A for ATMPs and Annex 2B for biological medicinal substances and products for human use. PIC/S Annex 2A PICS GMP Guide (Annexes) (pda.org) is different from the stand-alone EMA EudraLex rules, because it explicit refers and recommends the application in conjugation with PIC/S GMP guidelines and other Annexes, like Annex 1 for Sterile Medicinal Products. For example, in Annex 2A, chapter 3 states that `requirements of Annex 1 regarding the provision of closed system should be considered`. The reference to Annex 1 is not the case unless explicitly mentioned in EudraLex Part IV.2
Let’s have a look inside EudraLex Part IV for some relevant chapters from the point of cryopreservation.
Implementing fully automated and fully closed, single-use systems in the manufacturing process can help companies to follow the given regulations and thus improve their cGMP compliance. Manual processes are replaced by automated technologies and thus fulfil important factors for GMP such as reproducibility, standardization, and reduced risk. Validation of processes is very critical for regulatory compliance and to ensure that the ideal established cooling processes is followed during the real scenario cryopreservation to guarantee safety, effectiveness, and consistency.
The use of single use bags in combination with a metallic casing contributes to the safety, effectivity, and consistency of the validation for the cryopreservation process. In particular, the flat geometry and the excellent heat-conducting properties of the metal cassette supports a more, homogeneous thermal profile across the length, and height of bags during freezing, thereby enables a more consistent freezing process, compared to vials or bottles. Furthermore, immobilizing the bag during the freezing process decreases likelihood of bag breakages, and thereby contributes to the safety of the cryopreservation process.
Adequate quality control samples retained before cell therapy treatment are a crucial component of effective regulation and need to represent the conditions and history in the cryobag, containing the bulk therapy.4
Sterile aliquoting into single-use bags and freezing for cryopreservation of cell-based therapies pose challenges for labs, biomanufacturers and CDMOs. Learn more in the app note how to address these challenges.