Use of MMV as a Single Worst-Case Model Virus in Viral Filter Validation Studies

Eva Gefroh, Houman Dehghani, Megan McClure, Lisa Connell-Crowley, Ganesh Vedantham
PDA Journal of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology 2014, 68 (3): 297-311

UNLABELLED: Typical platform processes for biopharmaceutical products derived from animal cell lines include a parvovirus filtration unit operation to provide viral safety assurance of the drug product. The industry has adopted this platform unit operation and gained a wider understanding of its performance attributes, leading to the possibility of streamlined approaches to virus clearance validation. Here, the concept of virus validation on a parvovirus-grade filter with a single worst-case model virus is presented. Several lines of evidence, including published literature and Amgen's own data, support the use of a parvovirus, such as mouse minute virus (MMV), as a worst-case model virus to assess virus removal by parvovirus filters. The evidence presented includes a discussion of the design and manufacture of virus filters with a size exclusion mechanism for removal. Next, the characteristics of different model viruses are compared and a risk assessment on the selection of the relevant model viruses for clearance studies is presented. Finally, a comprehensive summary of literature and Amgen data is provided, comparing the clearance of larger viruses against MMV. Together, this analysis provides a strong scientific rationale for the use of a single, worst-case model virus for assessing virus removal by parvovirus filters, which will ultimately allow for more efficient and streamlined viral clearance study designs.

LAY ABSTRACT: Demonstrating the virus clearance capability of a purification process is an important aspect of biopharmaceutical process development. A key component of the viral safety of the process is the inclusion of a parvovirus-grade filter as an effective and robust virus removal step. Traditional methodologies for viral clearance studies have been based on a conservative, data-intensive approach, but recent trends in the field of virus clearance and process development show evolution towards streamlined and more efficient study designs that are based on understanding the mechanism of viral clearance by downstream unit operations. The publication of scientific datasets and awareness of the underlying mechanisms involved with these unit operations have fueled this trend. Here, the concept of virus validation on a parvovirus-grade filter using a parvovirus as single, worst-case model virus is presented. Multiple lines of evidence are provided to support this proposal, including a review of published literature and Amgen historical data. The adoption of this approach provides benefits in terms of cost savings for executing viral clearance studies, but it also simplifies the necessary dataset and focuses on only supplying value-added information to demonstrate the viral safety of the process.

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