The changing nature of the business strategies of pharmaceutical companies necessitates intra- and intercompany transfers of technology to create additional capacity for a new product, relocations of operations, site closures, and consolidations and mergers. Transfer of processes to an alternative site can occur at any stage in the product life-cycle, from development, scale-up, manufacturing, production and launch, to the post-approval phase.
The expertise from development, manufacturing, analytics, regulatory affairs, supply chain and engineering is necessary at least. This means that a transfer cannot be handled by a single person. Therefore it is essential to build cross-functional transfer teams as a first step in the transfer project. As interests and expertise are quite different within the Team, it is further essential to understand the project in its entirety and the tasks and deliveries of the single sub-teams. This is especially true for the transfer project leader.
The team is confronted with manifold issues. The process being transferred must be understood and sufficiently described – which can be a problem, especially for products from development or older products. But without this understanding the proof of equivalence after the transfer will never be successful.
In most of the cases the project is determined by the regulatory strategy. But Regulatory Affairs often finds that the filed process descriptions and the actual process in the donor site differ from each other. So transfer projects are very often also product maintenance projects. This costs time and money which both commonly were not budgeted.
The planned approach, the documentation of the transfer activities as well as written procedures are part of the EU GMP rules, as you can see, e.g., in chapter 4 of the EU GMP guide. But also without these demands from authorities: planning and documentation are the key factors for a successful transfer.
We want to give answers to questions like this:
- What do agencies expect?
- How is the regulatory strategy developed?
- What are the milestones? How can the project be structured?
- What are the critical quality attributes in transfers of sterile or oral solid dosage form?
- How are process changes handled that are occurring during the transfer?
- What can a GMP-compliant documentation look like?