Major achievements have been reached in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis during past decades due to the recognition of methotrexate as an anchor drug for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, due to the notion of a treatment window of opportunity in patients with recent-onset rheumatoid arthritis necessitating early aggressive therapy, due to the development of biologics and due to remission as a treatment target. Most biologics have a much faster onset of action than synthetic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, but presently there is no convincing evidence that biologic drugs have a superior clinical efficacy in comparison with the synthetic drugs. Biologics are, however, accompanied by less radiological deterioration.
Biologics are protein molecules which are used in various diseases to target the specific points in the immunopathogenesis of the diseases. The molecules are produced by recombinant DNA technology. The molecules bind to the specific targets without interfering wtih rest of the pathogenetic pathways. Therefore the so called ‘immunosuppressives’ have, although, a broader broader spectrum of action on immune system, their side-effects are also equally more. The biologics, because of their spefic action on the immune system, have very little side effects. The biologics which have revolutionized the treatment of various dermatologic diseases have been discussed here.
The Institute of Medicine says that health benefit packages should be limited by cost, not services, but doesn’t address the coverage of biologics. Employers, meanwhile, are thinking about limiting access to high-priced drugs. Yet, industry reports say that biologics are set to dominate drug spend by 2015. Are we moving toward healthcare rationing?
To date, lacking of a clinically-suitable human cardiac cell source with adequate myocardium regenerative potential has been the major setback in regenerating the damaged human myocardium. Pluripotent Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESCs) proffer unique revenue to generate a large supply of cardiac lineage-committed cells as human myocardial grafts for cell-based therapy. Due to the prevalence of heart disease worldwide and acute shortage of donor organs or human myocardial grafts, there is intense interest in developing hESC-based therapy for heart disease and failure. However, realizing the potential of hESCs has been hindered by the inefficiency and instability of generating cardiac cells from pluripotent cells through uncontrollable multi-lineage differentiation. In addition, the need for foreign biologics for derivation, maintenance, and differentiation of hESCs may make direct use of such cells and their derivatives in patients problematic. Understanding the requirements for sustaining pluripotentce and self-renewal of hESCs will provide the foundation for de novo derivation and long-term maintenance of biologics-free hESCs under optimal yet well-defined culture conditions from which they can be efficiently directed towards clinically-relevant lineages for therapies. We previously reported the resolving of the elements of a defined culture system...
With the advancement of biotechnology in the last two decades, optimized and novel modalities and platforms of biologic moieties have emerged rapidly in drug discovery pipelines. In addition, new technologies for delivering therapeutic biologics (e.g., needle-free devices, nanoparticle complexes), as well as novel approaches for disease treatments (e.g., stem cell therapy, individualized medicine), continue to be developed. While pharmacokinetic studies are routinely carried out for therapeutic biologics, experiments that elucidate underlying mechanisms for clearance and biodistribution or identify key factors that govern absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) of biologics often are not thoroughly conducted. Realizing the importance of biologics as therapeutic agents, pharmaceutical industry has recently begun to move the research focus from small molecules only to a blended portfolio consisting of both small molecules and biologics. This trend brings many opportunities for scientists working in the drug disposition research field. In anticipation of these opportunities and associated challenges, this review highlights impact of ADME studies on clinical and commercial success of biologics, with a particular focus on emerging applications and technologies and linkage with mechanistic pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic modeling and biomarker research.
The recent elucidation of molecular regulators of apoptosis and their roles in cellular oncogenesis has motivated the development of biomacromolecular anticancer therapeutics that can activate intracellular apoptotic signaling pathways. Pharmaceutical scientists have employed a variety of classes of biologics toward this goal, including antisense oligodeoxynucleotides, small interfering RNA, proteins, antibodies, and peptides. However, stability in the in vivo environment, tumor-specific biodistribution, cell internalization, and localization to the intracellular microenvironment where the targeted molecule is localized pose significant challenges that limit the ability to directly apply intracellular-acting, pro-apoptotic biologics for therapeutic use. Thus, approaches to improve the pharmaceutical properties of therapeutic biomacromolecules are of great significance and have included chemically modifying the bioactive molecule itself or formulation with auxiliary compounds. Recently, promising advances in delivery of pro-apoptotic biomacromolecular agents have been made using tools such as peptide “stapling”, cell penetrating peptides, fusogenic peptides, liposomes, nanoparticles, smart polymers, and synergistic combinations of these components. This review will discuss the molecular mediators of cellular apoptosis...
We conducted a long-term follow-up study in patients with rheumatic diseases who were candidates for biologics treatment to evaluate the effects of biologic agents on the risk of tuberculosis infection and the effect of prophylactic treatment on tuberculosis activation. One hundred one patients with rheumatic diseases who were candidates for biologics treatment were recruited, and 57 healthy subjects were recruited as controls. Tuberculin skin test (TST) and the T-SPOT.TB test were performed for all subjects at baseline. Follow-up testing by the T-SPOT.TB assay was performed every 6 months in patients with rheumatic diseases and at 2 years of recruitment in the healthy controls. In patients with rheumatic diseases and healthy controls, the TST-positive (induration, ≥10 mm) rates were 37.6% (38/101) and 34.0% (18/53), respectively (P > 0.05), while the T-SPOT.TB-positive rates were 46.5% (47/101) and 21.1 (12/57), respectively (P = 0.0019). Fifty-two patients were followed up at month 6 with a T-SPOT.TB-positive rate of 40.4%, and 49 were followed up for ≥12 months with a T-SPOT.TB-positive rate of 36.7%, with no significant difference in the positive rate at different time points including baseline (P > 0.05). Long-term follow-up revealed that conversion to T-SPOT.TB positivity occurred only in the biologics treatment group...
The patent expiration for first-generation biological drugs has prompted the development of a new group of biopharmaceuticals – follow-on biologics. The extent of studies needed in the process of follow-on biologics approval is incomparably greater than in the case of generics but reduced in comparison to innovative biologics. The basis for the approval is to show the similarity sufficient to ensure the same quality, safety and efficacy as the reference medicine. In oncology, the most widely used among so far registered follow-on biologics are biosimilar granulocyte colony-stimulating factors, and in the hitherto clinical practice, there have been no concerns about their effectiveness and safety. It is expected that along with the patent expiry of next biologics, the number of follow-on biologics will increasingly grow, that implies the need to develop and implement specific regulations for this new class of medicine.
Biologics have become the fastest growing segment in the pharmaceutical industry. As is the case with all proteins, biologics are susceptible to denature or to aggregate; conditions that, if present, preclude their use as pharmaceuticals. Identifying the solvent conditions that maximize their structural stability is crucial during development. Since the structural stability of a protein is susceptible to different chemical and physical conditions, the use of several complementary techniques can be expected to provide the best answers. Stability measurements that rely on temperature or chemical [urea or guanidine hydrochloride (GuHCl)] denaturation have been the preferred ones in research laboratories and together provide a thorough evaluation of protein stability. In this review, we will discuss chemical denaturation as a tool in the optimization of formulation conditions for biologics, and how chemical denaturation complements the role of thermal denaturation for this purpose.
An Irkut virus (IRKV) was recently isolated from a bat in China. The protective ability of rabies biologics available in the Chinese market and experimental biologics against the rabies virus (RABV) and IRKV were assessed in a hamster model via preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) experiments. The results demonstrated that a single dose of rabies vaccine did not induce adequate protection against IRKV infection. However, routine PrEP with three doses of vaccine induced complete protection against IRKV infection. Higher doses of RABV immunoglobulins and alpha interferon were required during PEP to protect hamsters against IRKV versus RABV infection. Experimental recombinant vaccines containing IRKV glycoproteins induced more-reliable protection against IRKV than against RABV infection. Those findings may be explained by limited cross-neutralization of these viruses (confirmed via in vitro tests) in conjunction with antigenic distances between RABV and IRKV. These results indicate that the development and evaluation of new biologics for PrEP and PEP are required to ensure sufficient protection against IRKV infection in China and other territories where this virus is present.
The beginning of the 21st century saw numerous protein and peptide therapeuticals both on the market and entering the final stages of clinical studies. They represent a new category of biologically originated drugs termed biologics or biologicals. Their main advantages over conventional drugs can be summarized by their high selectivity and potent therapeutic efficacy coupled with limited side effects. In addition, they exhibit more predictable behavior under in vivo conditions. However, up to now most of the formulations of biologics are designed and destined for the parenteral route of administration. As a consequence, many suffer from short plasma half-lives, resulting in their frequent administration and ultimately poor patient compliance. This review represents an attempt to address some of the challenges and promises in the product development of biologics both for parenteral and noninvasive administration. Some of the products currently in the pipeline of pharmaceutical development and corresponding perspectives are discussed in more detail.
Biologics, including monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and other therapeutic proteins such as cytokines and growth hormones, have unique characteristics compared to small molecules. This paper starts from an overview of the pharmacokinetics (PK) of biologics from a mechanistic perspective, the determination of a starting dose for first-in-human (FIH) studies, and dosing regimen optimisation for phase II/III clinical trials. Subsequently, typical clinical pharmacology issues along the corresponding pathways for biologics development are summarised, including drug-drug interactions, QTc prolongation, immunogenicity, and studies in specific populations. The relationships between the molecular structure of biologics, their pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic characteristics, and the corresponding clinical pharmacology strategies are summarised and depicted in a schematic diagram.
Immune responses to some monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and biologic proteins interfere with their efficacy due to the development of anti-drug antibodies (ADA). In the case of mAbs, most ADA target ‘foreign’ sequences present in the complementarity determining regions (CDRs). Humanization of the mAb sequence is one approach that has been used to render biologics less foreign to the human immune system. However, fully human mAbs can also drive immunogenicity. De-immunization (removing epitopes) has been used to reduce biologic protein immunogenicity. Here, we discuss a third approach to reducing the immunogenicity of biologics: introduction of Treg epitopes that stimulate Treg function and induce tolerance to the biologic protein. Supplementing humanization (replacing xeno-sequences with human) and de-immunization (reducing T effector epitopes) with tolerization (introducing Treg epitopes) where feasible, as a means of improving biologics ‘quality by design’, may lead to the development of ever more clinically effective, but less immunogenic, biologics.
Over the past decade, the use of biologics has significantly changed the management of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Biologics selectively target components of the immune system, resulting in better disease control. However, the growing use of biologics in RA has increased safety concerns among rheumatologists. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and registries are the most reliable sources of clinical safety data. Although safety data from RCTs provide certain insights into the clinical safety profile of an agent, strict constraints in study design (eg, exclusion criteria and restrictive treatment protocols) often do not accurately reflect possible safety issues in the use of the agent, either in the clinical setting or over long-term treatment. Registries, on the other hand, are not restrictive regarding patient enrollment, making them more reliable in evaluating long-term safety. A number of registries have been established globally: in Europe, the United States, and Asia. However, the availability of registry data from Eastern Europe is lacking. The notable exceptions so far are registries from the Czech Republic (ATTRA, a registry of patients treated with anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha drugs) and Serbia (National registry of patients with rheumatoid arthritis in Serbia [NARRAS]). The current report provides an overview of safety data with biologics in RA from RCTs and registries. Availability of regional safety data from Eastern Europe is of great importance to its clinicians for making evidence-based treatment decisions in RA.
The biologics used in transplantation clinical practice include several monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies aimed at specific cellular receptors. The effect of their mechanisms of action includes depleting or blocking specific cell subpopulations, complement system, or removing circulating preformed antibodies and blocking their production. They are used in induction, desensitization ABO-incompatible renal transplantation, rescue therapy of steroid-resistant acute rejection, treatment of posttransplant recurrence of primary disease such as nephrotic syndrome or atypical hemolytic–uremic syndrome, and in late humoral rejection. There are various indications for the use of biologic agents before and early or late after renal transplantation in both high- and low-risk recipients. In the latter situation, the biologics-based induction is used to further minimize immunosuppression maintenance. The targets of several biologic agents are present across a variety of cells, and manipulation of the immune system with biologics may be associated with significant risk of acute and late-onset adverse events; therefore, clinical risk-versus-benefit ratio must be carefully balanced in every case. Several trials on novel biologics are reported in adults but not in the pediatric population.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the extent of overlapping immunogenic peptides between three pharmaceutical biologics and influenza viruses. Clinical studies have shown that subsets of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) develop anti-drug antibodies towards anti-TNFα biologics. We postulate that common infectious pathogens, including influenza viruses, may sensitize RA patients toward recombinant proteins. We hypothesize that embedded within infliximab (IFX), adalimumab (ADA), and etanercept (ETN) are ligands of class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC-II) that mimic T cell epitopes derived from influenza hemagglutinin (HA). The rationale is that repeated administration of the biologics would reactivate HA-primed CD4 T cells, stimulating B cells to produce cross-reactive antibodies. Custom scripts were constructed using MATLAB to compare MHC-II ligands of HA and the biologics; all ligands were predicted using tools in Immune Epitope Database and Resources (IEDB). We analyzed three HLA-DR1 alleles (0101, 0401 and 1001) that are prominent in RA patients, and two alleles (0103 and 1502) that are not associated with RA. The results indicate that 0401 would present more analogues of HA ligands in the three anti-TNFα biologics compared to the other alleles. The approach led to identification of potential ligands in IFX and ADA that shares sequence homology with a known HA-specific CD4 T cell epitope. We also discovered a peptide in the complementarity-determining region 3 (CDR-3) of ADA that encompasses both a potential CD4 T cell epitope and a known B cell epitope in HA. The results may help generate new hypotheses for interrogating patient variability of immunogenicity of the anti-TNFα drugs. The approach would aid development of new recombinant biologics by identifying analogues of CD4 T cell epitopes of common pathogens at the preclinical stage.
Chronic plaque psoriasis is an immune-mediated, inflammatory skin disease with a heavy burden on quality of life of patients. Conventional systemic therapies, including cyclosporine, methotrexate, acitretin and photo(chemo)therapy, have proved to be effective, but the risk of toxicity prevents their prolonged and continuous use. Advances in the understanding of psoriasis immunopathogenesis have led to the development of drugs, designed to selectively interfere with the immune mechanisms that induce psoriasis, called biologics. These agents have proven to be a convenient, safe and effective alternative to conventional treatments, and have become an important part of the dermatologist therapeutic armamentarium. This review will focus on the mechanisms of action, guidelines for usage, efficacy data and safety concerns of the main biologics used in Europe for the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis: etanercept, infliximab, adalimumab. Although efalizumab's marketing authorization, approved since 2003, has been suspended recently (February 2009) across the European Union, it will also be briefly discussed.; Chronic plaque psoriasis is an immune-mediated, inflammatory skin disease with a heavy burden on quality of life of patients. Conventional systemic therapies...
We investigated the frequency of remission according to the disease activity score (DAS28) definition, modified American Rheumatology Association (ARA) criteria, and the frequency of an achievement of a functional status above defined thresholds ('functional remission', 'physical independence') in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients treated with either biologics or conventional DMARDs. We used the data of a prospective cohort study, the German biologics register RABBIT (German acronym for Rheumatoid Arthritis – Observation of Biologic Therapy) to investigate the outcomes in RA patients with two or more DMARD failures who received new treatment with biologics (BIOL; n = 818) or a conventional DMARD (n = 265). Logistic regression analysis was applied to adjust for differences in baseline risks. Taking risk indicators such as previous DMARD failures or baseline clinical status into account, we found that biologics doubled the chance of remission compared to conventional DMARD therapies (DAS28 remission, adjusted odds ratio (OR) 1.95 (95% confidenece interval (CI) 1.2–3.2)); ARA remission, OR 2.05 (95% CI 1.2–3.5)). High remission rates (DAS28 remission, 30.6%; ARA remission, 16.9%) were observed in BIOL patients with a moderate disease activity (DAS28...
Biologics are the most successful drugs used in anticytokine therapy. However, they remain partially unsuccessful because of the elevated cost of their synthesis and purification. Development of novel biologics has also been hampered by the high cost. Biologics are made of protein components; thus, theoretically, they can be produced in vivo. Here we tried to invent a novel strategy to allow the production of synthetic drugs in vivo by the host itself. The recombinant minicircles encoding etanercept or tocilizumab, which are synthesized currently by pharmaceutical companies, were injected intravenously into animal models. Self-reproduced etanercept and tocilizumab were detected in the serum of mice. Moreover, arthritis subsided in mice that were injected with minicircle vectors carrying biologics. Self-reproducible biologics need neither factory facilities for drug production nor clinical processes, such as frequent drug injection. Although this novel strategy is in its very early conceptual stage, it seems to represent a potential alternative method for the delivery of biologics.
Biologics manufacturing technology has made great progress in the last decade. One of the most promising new technologies is the single-use system, which has improved the efficiency of biologics manufacturing processes. To ensure safety of biologics when employing such single-use systems in the manufacturing process, various issues need to be considered including possible extractables/leachables and particles arising from the components used in single-use systems. Japanese pharmaceutical manufacturers, together with single-use suppliers, members of the academia and regulatory authorities have discussed the risks of using single-use systems and established control strategies for the quality assurance of biologics. In this study, we describe approaches for quality risk management when employing single-use systems in the manufacturing of biologics. We consider the potential impact of impurities related to single-use components on drug safety and the potential impact of the single-use system on other critical quality attributes as well as the stable supply of biologics. We also suggest a risk-mitigating strategy combining multiple control methods which includes the selection of appropriate single-use components, their inspections upon receipt and before releasing for use and qualification of single-use systems. Communication between suppliers of single-use systems and the users...