Blog | April 21, 2023

ARW's CGT+RNA Manufacturing Must-Reads (Pizza Cake Edition!)

Source: Cell & Gene Collaborative
ARW Edit Headshot 2

By Anna Rose Welch, Editorial & Community Director, Advancing RNA


Day-in and day-out, I write, read, listen to, and watch as much content as I can about CGT and RNA therapy manufacturing, in particular, and/or other ATMP industry-related topics that you should at least be aware of in the manufacturing facility. Every two weeks, I compile the articles and industry updates I think are most worthy of your time into an unconventional newsletter format (below) and send them out via email.

On April 20, we celebrated two of my absolute favorite things in this world: Pizza & Cake. Put the two together and you get National Pizza Cake Day — which, yes, is an actual thing. In fact, you could make one tonight for dinner if you were so inclined, seeing as your must-reads are part “instruction manual” on how to construct one of these works of art while also showcasing the equally artful technical happenings across the CGT world. Bon Appetit.

Step 1: Preheat the oven.

  • Say “duh” all you want — I see you over here with the rest of us (a.k.a. everyone) who forgets this critical step.
  • Luckily, we have regulators to help us sort out which of our efforts remain only half-baked. For those of you looking to get more regular/structured feedback for your therapies, EMA announced a few valuable additions to its Priority Medicines (PRIME) Scheme, which Daniela Drago clearly outlines in her recent LinkedIn post.
  • For those of us trying to figure out how exactly to even turn on our ovens/start developing an ATMP, CardinalHealth has put together a list of six tips to help take advantage of and get the answers/help you crave from the regulators during an INTERACT meeting.

Step 2-3: Gather your highest-quality ingredients and cooking supplies. Then throw everyone else out of the house.

  • You’re not just making a basic pizza here, you’re making a pizza cake. Ramp up the class & focus a little bit, please.
  • The process with which you assemble a pizza cake is just as multifaceted as establishing a commercial-ready mRNA drug product manufacturing platform. I can’t say I got any “secret [pizza] sauce” recipes out of Nutcracker Therapeutics’ COO John Stubenrauch or Tessera Therapeutics’ COO Hari Pujar. But I daresay we all enjoyed digging into the operational best practices to employ in each layer of the mRNA manufacturing practice in this latest BioProcess Online Live event (i.e., transition from R&D to CMC; IVT optimization; downstream processing).

Step 4: Identify toppings and ensure your supply will be sufficient for this “masterpieczza.”

Steps 5-10: Make one pizza. Then stack five more on top of that.

Step 11: Dish it all out.

  • Reminder: To avoid an abysmal & unconscionable eating experience, please bake the pizza cake before consuming.
  • If you think the terms “abysmal & unconscionable” are overly dramatic in the context of pizza, please be aware that these words are a direct quote from a physician describing the autologous cell therapy manufacturing process in this recent article.
    • Overall, as we strive to move these therapies into solid tumors and turn them into second-/first-line therapies, the article above is a goldmine of how physicians are considering CAR-Ts against competitor therapies (i.e., bispecific antibodies) — and in some instances, they’re not mincing words.
    • Not only do we need to figure out solutions to the manufacturing shortcomings of autologous therapies, but I think this re-emphasizes a particularly salient point from a conference earlier this year (i.e., “Hot Take” #2) that enabling physicians to engage with your product prior to the bedside is a foundational part of scaling your cell therapy operations.
    • If you’re trying to imagine what the future of a more efficient and patient- & physician-centric CT industry might look like, Friends of Cancer Research will be hosting a hybrid event on May 22, 2023 featuring an impressive line-up of industry, government, FDA, and physician speakers on the future development, clinical, & policy landscapes for CTs. You can register for free here.

Step 12: Dig in — preferably with a fork & knife.

Step 13: Put all the leftovers in the fridge.