What does cell therapy manufacturing cost? A framework and methodology to facilitate academic and other small-scale cell therapy manufacturing costings.
SourceCytotherapy, 22, 7, (2020), pp. 388-397
01 juli 2020
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectRadboudumc 2: Cancer development and immune defence RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences; Radboudumc 4: lnfectious Diseases and Global Health RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
BACKGROUND AIMS: Recent technical and clinical advances with cell-based therapies (CBTs) hold great promise in the treatment of patients with rare diseases and those with high unmet medical need. Currently the majority of CBTs are developed and manufactured in specialized academic facilities. Due to small scale, unique characteristics and specific supply chain, CBT manufacturing is considered costly compared to more conventional medicinal products. As a result, biomedical researchers and clinicians are increasingly faced with cost considerations in CBT development. The objective of this research was to develop a costing framework and methodology for academic and other small-scale facilities that manufacture cell-based therapies. METHODS: We conducted an international multi-center costing study in four facilities in Europe using eight CBTs as case studies. This study includes costs from cell or tissue procurement to release of final product for clinical use. First, via interviews with research scientists, clinicians, biomedical scientists, pharmacists and technicians, we designed a high-level costing framework. Next, we developed a more detailed uniform methodology to allocate cost items. Costs were divided into steps (tissue procurement, manufacturing and fill-finish). The steps were each subdivided into cost categories (materials, equipment, personnel and facility), and each category was broken down into facility running (fixed) costs and operational (variable) costs. The methodology was tested via the case studies and validated in developer interviews. Costs are expressed in 2018 euros (€). RESULTS: The framework and methodology were applicable across facilities and proved sensitive to differences in product and facility characteristics. Case study cost estimates ranged between €23 033 and €190 799 Euros per batch, with batch yield varying between 1 and 88 doses. The cost estimations revealed hidden costs to developers and provided insights into cost drivers to help design manufacturing best practices. CONCLUSIONS: This framework and methodology provide step-by-step guidance to estimate manufacturing costs specifically for cell-based therapies manufactured in academic and other small-scale enterprises. The framework and methodology can be used to inform and plan cost-conscious strategies for CBTs.
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