Scaling up API processes with Dr. James Mencel’s steering


On this interview, NewsMed talks to Dr. James Mencel’s Steerage about Scaling Up API Processes.

Might you introduce your self and your expertise within the pharmaceutical trade?

I obtained a B.S. in Chemistry at Fairfield College in 1979 and a Ph.D. in natural chemistry in 1984 at Yale College after which started my profession in cardiovascular discovery chemistry at Revlon Well being Care, which later turned Rorer (1986) and in the end Rhone Poulenc Rorer (RPR, 1990).

The main target on the time was peptidomimetic targets, and that led to a chance to hitch Course of R&D to begin a peptide growth perform in assist of each drug discovery and business manufacturing of peptide hormones. That advanced inside RPR to a global duty and led to a broader position supporting course of growth and manufacturing of all varieties of NCEs coming into growth. 

I moved to Rhodia Chirex in 2000, seeing that as a chance to realize expertise within the rising contract API R&D and GMP manufacturing enviornment. At Rhodia Chirex, I used to be answerable for course of growth, plant implementation, and GMP manufacturing for contract packages.

Working with budget-conscious shoppers underscored the significance of extracting each bit of data from every experiment and operational run. This strategy was crucial for enhancing course of functionality and readiness in a time-efficient and cost-effective method, significantly when getting ready for larger-scale operations and extra stringent necessities. This expertise stands out as some of the pivotal in my profession.

In 2006, I joined Johnson Matthey (JM) Pharmaceutical Supplies as Chief Scientist, the place I used to be entrusted with main business product manufacturing assist, analytical and course of growth, and plant implementation for brand new Lively Pharmaceutical Components (APIs). My tasks prolonged to contributing to regulatory filings, offering technical assist for mental property issues, and providing on-site technical and regulatory steering to different enterprise models centered on growing processes for business purposes. At JM, my data of the CMC regulatory world grew tremendously and knowledgeable my strategy to chemical growth and manufacturing henceforth. 

In 2012, I moved to Galleon Prescribed drugs, taking up a pivotal position in API and drug product growth, in addition to GMP manufacturing by contracted assets. My tasks additionally included supporting the invention course of by profiling candidate molecules and managing the regulatory documentation for each API and drug merchandise.

In 2016, I moved to Design House Inpharmatics as an API guide, the place I’ve been supporting shoppers with API course of growth, GMP manufacturing, and the drafting of regulatory paperwork. Since becoming a member of DSI, I’ve continued to increase my experience and achieve complete expertise in each the technical and regulatory sides of chemical growth and manufacturing. I’ve contributed to quite a few registration filings and performed a big position in a number of merchandise which have not too long ago acquired approval.

In your expertise, how essential is the scale-up of API processes when transitioning from laboratory growth to business manufacturing?

The core tasks of the API chemical growth and plant implementation groups are to plot and ship a course of—full with analytical controls—that fulfills anticipated wants and to successfully implement this course of to supply the API. That is essential at each growth section and for each meant use of the API, because the profitable preparation of API provides and reaching the required amount and high quality throughout the mandatory timeframe is paramount.

The API, being the Lively Pharmaceutical Ingredient, is the linchpin of the event program—with out it, progress halts. Within the realm of generic API managed substances, DEA quotas might severely prohibit trial scale-ups, making it crucial for the lab-to-plant transition to succeed on the primary try, which could additionally function the preliminary course of validation batch. Efficient course of growth and scale-up are thus crucial to enterprise success.

Based mostly on my expertise, the chemical growth and manufacturing groups are conscious about their pivotal position within the drug growth program and are deeply dedicated to contributing their half successfully.

Might you share an instance out of your profession the place skilled steering, particularly in API growth and course of scaling, performed a pivotal position in undertaking success?

Throughout a latest program, isolating the product at a crucial juncture of the API course of proved to be exceptionally difficult, elevating vital considerations for its scalability in business manufacturing. This isolation step was additionally essential for eliminating impurities, as ineffective separation might compromise the elimination of impurities from the product’s moist cake. Underneath skilled steering, the laboratory growth crew launched into an intensive assessment of all obtainable info on this particular isolation step, analyzing a decade’s value of growth experiences and manufacturing information.

This deep dive unearthed a number of scattered however priceless insights that, though dispersed, hinted at a possible resolution when pieced collectively. Notably, a historic isolation process recognized as facilitating simpler product separation additionally confirmed promise for its potential to expel impurities successfully. Nevertheless, the solvents required for this older methodology have been incompatible with the present product preparation circumstances.

Guided by experience, the crew devised a two-part, streamlined course of that allowed the mandatory chemistry to proceed whereas seamlessly integrating the solvents and circumstances from the historic isolation method. This revolutionary strategy not solely enabled the specified chemical transformation but additionally reincorporated the efficient isolation and impurity purge strategies of the previous. The revised course of step has since been validated and built-in into the business manufacturing operation.

Picture Credit: DS InPharmatics (DSI)


What particular challenges have you ever encountered when shifting from lab-scale to plant-scale API manufacturing, and the way have you ever addressed these complexities? 

Typically, in my expertise, throughout course of scale-up, the chemical response itself isn’t the difficulty. You will need to level out that the growing circumstances for the chemical response itself might be totally different from growing the method by which it’s carried out, with product isolation, at helpful scales. Nevertheless, because the response circumstances are developed, components that will have an effect on scalability (e.g., choice of solvents, catalysts, and so on.) and robustness must be thought-about.

Points might come up throughout scale-up attributable to how nicely the response is known and the way nicely the general course of for the precise stage of chemistry has been developed for the atmosphere through which the method shall be run. Three widespread and key technical challenges are warmth and mass switch taken collectively, time dilation for operations at a big scale, and habits throughout product isolation. There can be challenges with how particular person supplies are dealt with and charged, a few of which can relate to security, properties of the precise materials (e.g., hygroscopicity), and the necessities of the response.

To handle complexities in scaling up reactions, it is vital to grasp exterior necessities (e.g., controlling oxygen or water) and guarantee they’re possible at scale. Whereas simulating many operational points within the lab is feasible, others are more difficult. These challenges range with the method. 

For difficult instances, it is helpful for an skilled crew to collectively assessment the method and design scale-up and process-stressing simulations. When contemplating the complete means of the API, some options could be tolerable and even mandatory for preliminary small batches however should be eradicated or specifically accommodated for large-scale manufacturing.

Operations like focus to dryness and chromatographic purifications are prioritized for alternative early in scale-up growth. Nevertheless, preliminary program dangers and time constraints might prohibit growth scope earlier than early API manufacturing. Early API manufacturing would possibly necessitate these operations till scientific program dangers lower sufficiently to warrant the extra intensive chemical growth required for his or her alternative. 

Indicative analytical controls can be a problem for scale-up. Some methodologies used within the lab to assist growth could also be fully unsuitable for or troublesome to accommodate within the scale-up setting. Good analytical assist is crucial to understanding the chemistry and in addition the habits of the product throughout the method throughout which it’s made. Scale-up failure can happen as a result of inadequate analytical scrutiny was utilized throughout course of growth and/or due to an insufficient potential to watch the response or different parts of the method that could be important for fulfillment. 

What sensible insights and greatest practices might be carried out for a profitable API scale-up course of?

Attaining a profitable scale-up encompasses quite a few components, with consultants offering numerous insights. This dialogue will spotlight key points for initially scaling up a single chemical stage.

First, figuring out the anticipated operational scale and figuring out the obtainable tools to execute the method is essential. This contains understanding the tools’s capabilities. Moreover, the scheduling of the scale-up venue and the association of supporting analytical companies for staffed processing (e.g., 5 days/12 hours, 5 days/24 hours, and so on.) are vital concerns. These points body the event work. 

The first requirement for scale-up is the thorough growth and understanding of the chemical response. This goes past stoichiometry and the selection of solvents, reactants, and any required catalysts. It includes defining the elemental exterior components, such because the sequence of including reactants, mixing, and temperature wants and the way these are managed. Moreover, establishing appropriate analytical monitoring methodology is essential.

The specs for quenching the response combination and for the work-up course of should be clearly outlined. Moreover, the whole process for isolating the product should be specified. In some situations, the product may not be remoted in stable or oil kind however might be obtained as an answer, prepared for the following chemical stage. There may additionally be predefined high quality requirements for intermediates upstream of the API which are essential for sustaining API high quality. Due to this fact, the method for every intermediate should fulfill these high quality requirements. 

These parts kind the foundational define of the specified chemical transformation course of, starting from the enter of supplies to an remoted product that meets specified high quality standards. This course of should be outlined throughout the context of the meant scale, the obtainable tools, and different traits of the scale-up atmosphere. It is essential throughout growth to watch and doc any behaviors like exotherms, foaming, thickening, precipitation, coloration modifications, points with section separation, and the filterability of the product. 

Observing behaviors comparable to exotherms or section splits might spotlight the necessity for particular lodging within the scaled-up course of (as an example, utilizing a conductivity meter for dark-on-dark section splits). Alternatively, these observations might point out that the chemistry or the general course of for getting ready the precise product is not scalable in its present kind. The steadiness of the product at totally different levels of the method must be assessed by laboratory simulations that mimic plant circumstances.

When contemplating the method in a broader context, components comparable to the provision, lead time, and value of key supplies, together with product storage and doubtlessly the necessity for intersite delivery, should be evaluated and deliberate for. These parts can grow to be essential for long-term planning. The factors talked about present a framework for figuring out the method parameters and lodging wanted for preliminary scale-up. For strong, long run use of the method, will probably be essential to systematically research particular person course of parameters to determine these that are crucial and which require particular boundaries.

Might you present examples of how DSI’s API consulting crew helps small molecule and peptide scientific growth, manufacturing, and strategic API regulatory steering?

For skilled chemical growth professionals, many points of present regulatory expectations are inherently tied to reaching a complete understanding of the method, which is a elementary a part of sound course of growth. Efficient growth work must be knowledgeable by ICH pointers comparable to Q8 (Pharmaceutical Growth), Q9 (High quality Threat Administration), and Q11 (Growth and Manufacture of Drug Substances), which emphasize the significance of controlling high quality all through the complete course of. These pointers advocate for periodic threat assessments to guage the sufficiency of data gathered as the method develops.

DSI’s consultants specialise in providing recommendation on chemical growth and API manufacturing, catering to a spread of wants from pre-IND levels by to post-validation business manufacturing. Within the preliminary phases of drug growth, DSI focuses on guiding towards a course of and manufacturing setup that may produce periodic, often smaller-sized batches. Because the scientific program advances, each course of understanding and capabilities should evolve accordingly. DSI then aids in accumulating the mandatory physique of data for a sturdy course of and a complete API regulatory submission.

A key space requiring experience is the management of impurities: understanding the introduction or derivation of structurally associated impurities, their regulatory toxicity standing (per ICH Q3A(R2) or ICH M7), and their elimination all through the chemical course of is essential for setting specs for intermediates and the API. This data would possibly point out the necessity for additional centered growth of the method. The concerns for brief polypeptides and peptidomimetic APIs are much like these for small molecule APIs, together with challenges just like the sourcing of non-natural, usually chiral, amino acids.

For bigger polypeptide APIs, concerns such because the molecule’s chain size and the anticipated portions are essential, and DSI offers steering on selecting between stable section or classical resolution section artificial strategies for large-scale manufacturing.

Early provides for Drug Discovery or pre-IND actions, usually produced through semi-automated stable section strategies, purified by chromatography, and remoted by lyophilization, will not be appropriate for scientific provides. Many small firms might lack the experience for larger-scale preparations or in evaluating peptide CMOs and their proposals. For larger-scale syntheses, DSI assists in figuring out whether or not the peptide must be synthesized by sequential coupling of particular person amino acids or by getting ready and coupling polypeptide fragments.

The situation of couplings and the chemistry used for C-terminus activation should be fastidiously chosen to attenuate racemization. The choice between stable vs. resolution section synthesis impacts the choice of amino acid facet chain defending teams and the N-terminal safety technique (e.g., t-BOC vs FMOC vs CBZ). If the peptide API contains rings or facet chain branching, the timing of their introduction is essential. The strategies for purification and isolation, comparable to chromatography and lyophilization, require acceptable scale lodging.

Growing a peptide synthesis for scale-up necessitates complete analytical assist to verify high quality points distinctive to artificial biopolymers, like racemized facilities, deletion sequences, and correct ring placement. Artificial polypeptides can have structural errors affecting in vivo conformation, making detection of faulty species crucial. Given their excessive efficiency, even minor structurally associated impurities in peptide APIs can considerably have an effect on exercise and may need undesired pharmacodynamic results. These high quality points are important for getting ready a passable peptide regulatory submission.

Are you able to share an instance of how DSI optimizes manufacturing processes to steadiness high quality management with value effectivity throughout API scale-up?

Value, effectivity, and high quality management are broad subjects that warrant detailed consideration, and embody whole textbooks. They cowl points comparable to response chemistry, chemical processes, product isolation and drying, waste discount, provide chain administration, and manufacturing venues. At DSI, we concentrate on optimizing value and effectivity whereas sustaining high quality requirements.

Enhancing throughput, chemical yields and product high quality supplied at every stage can result in time effectivity and improved high quality for the general course of. Lowering time in tools, which is a significant factor of value, is essential. GMP plant reactors are costly to function, and the purpose is to course of as a lot materials by a reactor as potential in as little time as potential, with a excessive yield of suitably pure product.

Optimizing volumetrics is vital, aiming to course of as a lot reactant as potential in as little solvent as potential, which incorporates minimizing quench and work-up volumes. This results in optimized vessel loading, influenced by reactant solubility and warmth and mass switch. Enhancements in volumetrics also can scale back solvent distillation time if distillation is a part of the method, lowering processing value and the chance of degradation of delicate merchandise.

Specializing in the completeness of product crystallization or precipitation and minimizing yield losses to the mom or wash liquors is primary but vital. it’s essential to make sure that circumstances that improve crystallized yield don’t additionally deliver out impurities with the specified product. The tactic and circumstances of drying also can affect effectivity and high quality, as improper strategies can gradual drying and trigger degradation, and dryer unloading mechanics can have an effect on closing batch homogeneity.

These primary parts are central to enhancing value and effectivity.

How does DSI present drug substance manufacturing assist?

DSI’s API consultants are deeply concerned within the course of. We collaborate intently with chosen chemical growth and GMP manufacturing contractors. If requested, we help in drafting requests for proposals from API CMOs, evaluating bids, and recommending contract awardees. Moreover, we will help in figuring out secondary producers for intermediates or the API and oversee the complete know-how switch between major and secondary producers.

On the shopper’s request, our consultants can oversee contracted growth work and API manufacturing. We’re devoted to understanding the chemistry and present analytical controls, leveraging insights from earlier lab or plant outcomes to anticipate future manufacturing workout routines.

We’ll go to the event and manufacturing websites to work together with the native crew, develop a repport, and be taught concerning the growth, manufacturing, and analytical capabilities that the contractor might provide on the major website. We may even solicit details about affiliate websites. This can assist construct a relationship with the contractor’s crew and supply an understanding of what’s identified concerning the course of and its efficiency at scale, what infrastructure is already in place for API manufacturing, and what further capabilities might be accessed. The fee and availability of key supplies may even be a spotlight in our planning to assist API manufacturing. Concurrently, we’ll try to grasp the evolving wants of the API and the anticipated timeframe concerned. This informs our evaluation of the provision chain and chemical course of, serving to us determine what could also be wanted to satisfy anticipated future API demand.

DSI API consultants contribute to the design of and assessment information after pre-scale-up laboratory demonstrations. We additionally assessment and edit draft grasp batch information and can be found as wanted, together with on-site, in the course of the execution of the method. Moreover, we assessment the executed batch information.

We’ll take part in post-action critiques to extract classes from accomplished scale-ups and determine any mandatory actions earlier than the subsequent manufacturing train, probably extending to longer-term concerns. DSI API consultants, alongside High quality consultants at DSI, the shopper, and contractor, will assessment manufacturing-related deviations, investigations, and alter controls, usually in real-time throughout manufacturing. Our intention is to finalize all manufacturing-related documentation required for product launch.

How does DSI provide assist for drug substance regulatory affairs?

As beforehand famous, latest regulatory steering emphasizes the significance of creating an intensive course of understanding characterised by high quality management all through the complete course of lifecycle. This understanding evolves alongside the correct growth of the method.

Regulatory authorities should be assured {that a} chemical course of each controls product high quality and can reliably ship merchandise to serve the inhabitants for which the drug is meant. Accordingly, the last word purpose of API chemical growth is a sturdy manufacturing course of that performs reproducibly on the required scale and which generates a product that reliably meets specs and with the anticipated yield. 

To construct course of understanding, DSI helps design and assessment the outcomes of spike destiny and purge research and makes use of the ensuing information to assist with setting defensible specs for bought supplies, intermediates, and the API, as shall be required for registration filings. 

We’re very attentive to present expectations concerning nitrosamines and PGIs and monitor the flexibility of the method to regulate these to throughout the Company’s required ranges. As soon as specs are established, our API crew designs crucial course of parameter research to determine delicate parameters and set up boundaries for every, guaranteeing product high quality.

The expertise and information gained from these actions kind the muse of course of understanding and high quality management, essential for Module C of the registration submitting.

Figuring out and gaining Company settlement on regulatory beginning supplies (RSM(s)) in a chemical course of is a pivotal CMC juncture. The DSI API crew assists in deciding on proposed RSM(s), develops supporting arguments following ICH suggestions, and at shopper request has ready RSM briefing books for US and different authorities.

Moreover, we put together briefing books and comparability assessments to assist main course of modifications and the introduction of latest GMP producers or places after pivotal scientific API trials have been performed or introductions right into a validated manufacturing state.

Upon shopper request, we accompany or absolutely characterize them at Company CMC conferences following briefing books and assembly requests. Our API group additionally prepares and critiques API-related submitting content material for INDs, IMPDs, NDAs, sNDAs, DMFs, and MAAs and addresses reviewer inquiries that will come up throughout file assessment.

About James Mencel

A Yale educated chemist, Dr. Mencel has served the pharmaceutical trade for 40 years with sensible expertise in all points of artificial chemistry and API growth in addition to early drug product formulation. On this capability, Jim is technically proficient in a number of languages which serves his work with the worldwide CMO neighborhood.

Jim joined DSI in 2016 from Galleon as an skilled course of chemist whose profession focus has advanced towards making use of rules of high quality threat evaluation and sound science to supply CMC steering to all points of drug substance.

The Drug Substance Workforce assists our shoppers by offering strategic steering and well timed help starting from the pre-IND to business arenas, spanning peptide and small molecule API chemical course of R&D and manufacturing, and together with authoring and assessment of regulatory documentation. Providers embrace assist for lab-to-plant switch for cGMP scientific provide and business manufacturing and inter-site know-how switch. Our Drug SubstanceTeam can assist your course of & analytical growth for API course of scale-up, and cGMP API manufacturing.

About DS InPharmatics

DS InPharmatics (DSI) offers regulatory, technical, and undertaking administration consulting companies to healthcare product firms that manufacture and/or market prescribed drugs, biopharmaceuticals, and mobile and gene remedy merchandise.

Since 2007 we have now supplied our shoppers with revolutionary methods and distinctive high quality work merchandise meant to boost product growth, approval, and advertising presence. Whether or not advocating CMC technique, directing CMC operations, or growing CMC submission content material that characterize the most effective pursuits of rising biotech, we concentrate on the crucial CMC points and construct packages that improve growth.


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