ATMP development and pre-GMP environment in academia: a safety net for early cell and gene therapy development and manufacturing

Immunooncol Technol. 2022 Oct 6;16:100099. doi: 10.1016/j.iotech.2022.100099. eCollection 2022 Dec.


Advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMP) are medicines for human use that are based on genes, cells or tissues. Over the past years, an increasing number of ATMP entered the market for treatment of cancer, genetic disorders, skeletal defects and metabolic diseases. However, the ATMP production methods often change from the initial concept to commercialization. This change is needed to improve the manufacturing feasibility for scaling up or scaling out. Moreover, the production must adhere to current good manufacturing practices (GMP), and needs to follow a risk-based approach, which often is challenging to implement due to the novelty of the products. Since most of the early ATMP development is done in academia, an environment that is not familiar with regulatory requirements for ATMP production in GMP, the initial manufacturing choice for pre-clinical studies is usually very different from what is required for clinical use. This leads to a lengthy production process optimization, unnecessary repetition of experiments and ultimately waste of funding. This consideration prompted us to provide an intermediate step between early ATMP production in research settings to GMP manufacturing. We built a dedicated facility, and we called this environment 'pre-GMP' to highlight that it is a step toward preparation to GMP manufacturing. This environment supports process development and provides a manufacturing fitness room before transferring to GMP suites. This paper addresses the relevance of pre-GMP, underlining the advantages and the possible disadvantages of this additional framework that may be key in accelerating the pace of ATMP toward clinic.

Keywords: ATMP; pre-GMP; process development; regulatory support.

Publication types

  • Review