How Many Batches Are Needed for Process Validation under the New FDA Guidance?

PDA J Pharm Sci Technol. Jan-Feb 2013;67(1):53-62. doi: 10.5731/pdajpst.2013.00902.

Abstract

The newly updated FDA Guidance for Industry on Process Validation: General Principles and Practices ushers in a life cycle approach to process validation. While the guidance no longer considers the use of traditional three-batch validation appropriate, it does not prescribe the number of validation batches for a prospective validation protocol, nor does it provide specific methods to determine it. This potentially could leave manufacturers in a quandary. In this paper, I develop a Bayesian method to address the issue. By combining process knowledge gained from Stage 1 Process Design (PD) with expected outcomes of Stage 2 Process Performance Qualification (PPQ), the number of validation batches for PPQ is determined to provide a high level of assurance that the process will consistently produce future batches meeting quality standards. Several examples based on simulated data are presented to illustrate the use of the Bayesian method in helping manufacturers make risk-based decisions for Stage 2 PPQ, and they highlight the advantages of the method over traditional Frequentist approaches. The discussions in the paper lend support for a life cycle and risk-based approach to process validation recommended in the new FDA guidance.

Lay abstract: The newly updated FDA Guidance for Industry on Process Validation: General Principles and Practices ushers in a life cycle approach to process validation. While the guidance no longer considers the use of traditional three-batch validation appropriate, it does not prescribe the number of validation batches for a prospective validation protocol, nor does it provide specific methods to determine it. This potentially could leave manufacturers in a quandary. In this paper, I develop a Bayesian method to address the issue. By combining process knowledge gained from Stage 1 Process Design (PD) with expected outcomes of Stage 2 Process Performance Qualification (PPQ), the number of validation batches for PPQ is determined to provide a high level of assurance that the process will consistently produce future batches meeting quality standards. Several examples based on simulated data are presented to illustrate the use of the Bayesian method in helping manufacturers make risk-based decisions for Stage 2 PPQ, and THEY highlight the advantages of the method over traditional Frequentist approaches. The discussions in the paper lend support for a life cycle and risk-based approach to process validation recommended in the new FDA guidance.

MeSH terms

  • Bayes Theorem*
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers
  • Paper*
  • Prospective Studies