Catalent Belgium Form 483 and Contamination Control

The FDA recently released a Form 483 it handed to Catalent Belgium following an inspection of its 265,000 square-foot facility in Brussels in October 2021. Catalent is a pretty sizable entity, so it is very valuable to see what we can learn from their observations.

Failure to adequately assess an unexplained discrepancy or deviation

“Standard Operating Procedure STB-QA-0010, Deviation Management, v21 classifies deviations as minor, major or critical based on the calculation of a risk priority number, with a HEPA filter failure within a Grade A environment often classified as minor. Specifically, Deviation 327567 (Date of occurrence 04 March 2021) was for a HEPA filter failure on the <redacted> fill line, with a breach at the HEPA filter frame.”

This one is more common than it should be. I’ve recently written about categorization and criticality of events. I want to stress the term potential when addressing impact in the classification of events.

Control barriers exist for a reason. You breach that control barrier in any way, you have the potential to impact product or environment. It is really easy for experienced SMEs to say “But this has never had any real impact before” and then downgrade the deviation classification. Before long it becomes the norm that HEPA filter failures are minor because they never have impact. And then one does. Then there are shortages or worse.

It is important to avoid that complacency and treat each and every control barrier failure to the same level of investigation based on their potentiality to impact.

The other problem here is failure to identify trends and deal with them. I can honestly say that the last thing I ever want anyone, especially an inspector, to write about something where I have quality oversight is a failure to investigate multiple control barrier events.

Other GMP manufacturing areas have a similar elevated level of HEPA filter failures, with the root cause of the HEPA filter failures unknown. There is no CAPA in support of correction action. Your firm failed to ensure your investigations identify appropriate root causes and you failed to implement sustainable corrective action and preventive action (CAPA).

Contamination Control function

Observation 2 and 3 are doozies, but there is probably a lack of expertise involved here. The site is using out-of-date and inadequate methods in their validation. Hire a strong contamination control expert and leverage them. Build expertise in the organization through a robust training program. Connect this to all relevant quality systems/processes.

Corrective Maintenance and Troubleshooting

“Equipment and facilities used in the manufacture of drug product are not adequately maintained or appropriately designed to facilitate operations for their intended use.

The asset control lifecycle matters, and corrective maintenance can not be shorted.

This is starting to feel a lot like my upcoming presentation at the 2022 ISPE Aseptic Conference where I will be speaking on “Contamination Control, Risk and the Quality Management System

Contamination Control is a fairly wide term used to mean “getting microbiologists out of the lab” and involved in risk management and the quality management system. This presentation will evaluate best practices in building a contamination control strategy and ensuring its use throughout the quality system. Leveraging a House of Quality approach, participants will learn how to: Create targeted/ risk based measures of contamination avoidance; Implement Key performance indicators to assess status of contamination control; and ensure a defined strategy for deviation management (investigations), CAPA and change management.”

Maybe we can talk more there!

Phase Appropriate GMPs

Throughout the regulations and guidances you will find something like this: “As with other aspects of the development program, documentation may be ‘less vigorous’ in early phases, but ‘they would still need to be adequate in order to allow for traceability of the manufacturing process.'”

Agencies, like the FDA, have consistently stated that phase 1 is less vigorous but starting in phase 2 you are fully GMP. These regulations are meant to ensure basic safety and documentation standards are met in the manufacture and testing of phase 1 clinical trial material and to encourage the design of quality into the process. It is expected that enhanced process controls and GMP standards will be employed as the material transitions into later clinical stages.

With the speed of development, and the fact early phase material can support commercialization, this phased in approach is an important balancing act in advanced therapeutics like cell and gene therapy.  It is crucial that manufacturers of phase 1 clinical trial material assess potential risks associated with their manufacturing process, facilities, equipment, methods, materials, etc. and the associated impact of these risks on the safety and quality of the material. All significant risks should then be mitigated, and appropriate controls implemented to reduce potential adverse impact for the patients and data generated.

Recognizing the difference between the elements of a strong quality system and what is needed for GMPs. Folks often confuse the two and have difficulties maturing quickly. The stuff in the orange? That’s system and is not GMP dependent.

Some GMP, such as clean room controls or starting materials controls should be robust from the beginning. Others, such as cleaning validation, are developed as you move through the phases.

Good practices for research and development facilities (WHO draft guideline)

Last month the World Health Organization published a draft guideline on Good practices for research and development facilities.

This arrow pretty much sums it up:

Application of the guide

Seriously, not much surprising here. What this guide definitely does is place early research in the framework of Q10 and point out that there is one quality system to rule them all and that level of rigor is based on risk.

Give it a read.