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PDA Glossary

PDA Glossary of Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Terminology

PDA Technical Reports are highly valued membership benefits because they offer expert guidance and opinions on important scientific and regulatory topics and are used as essential references by industry and regulatory authorities around the world. These reports include terms which explain the material and enhance the reader’s understanding.

The database presented here includes the glossary terms from all current technical reports. The database is searchable by keyword, topic, or by technical report. Each definition provided includes a link to the source technical report within the PDA Technical Report Portal.

Browse Terms by Title


Browse Terms by TR #

  • Adverse Drug Reaction (ADR)

    The American Society of Hospital Pharmacists (ASHP) defines a significant ADR as any unexpected, unintended, undesired, or excessive response to a drug that:
    (1) Requires discontinuing the drug (therapeutic or diagnostic) Requires changing the drug therapy
    (2) Requires modifying the dose (except for minor dosage adjustment)
    (3) Necessitates admission to a hospital
    (4) Prolongs stay in a healthcare facility
    (5) Necessitates supportive treatment
    (6) Significantly complicates diagnosis
    (7) Negatively affects prognosis
    (8) Results in temporary or permanent harm, disability, or death.
    The World Health Organization (WHO) defines ADR as any noxious, unintended, and undesired effect of a drug which occurs at doses used for prophylaxis, diagnosis, or therapy, excluding therapeutic failures, intentional and accidental overdose and drug abuse. It does not consider errors in drug administration to be adverse events. (TR55)

  • Adverse Event (AE) Report

    An AE report is a communication to the U.S. FDA of an undesirable sign or symptom associated with use of a drug as required and detailed by 21 CFR 314.80. These reports are logged into the U.S. FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS). Drug manufacturers are required to report adverse event information to FDA. These reports may also may be voluntarily submitted to the FDA directly by healthcare professionals or the general public at Med Watch. The reports are reviewed, safety issues are monitored, and data are periodically analyzed and assessed by the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). (TR55)

  • Aggregation

    Clumping of proteins, viruses, or bacteria that may arise from several mechanisms and may be classified in numerous ways, including soluble/insoluble, covalent/noncovalent, reversible/irreversible, and native/denatured. (TR47)

  • Animal-Derived Raw Materials (Primary)

    Contains in the final raw material or uses in the manufacturing process of the final raw material, any raw material derived directly from bovine or other animal tissues, for example, bovine serum, porcine-derived trypsin, and animal-tissue-de­rived hydrolysates. (TR83)

  • Biomethylation

    The enzyme chlorophenol o-methyltransferase responsible for fungal methylation has been isolated in cell-free extracts. Biomethylation, in this context, may be seen as a detoxification mechanism, although it plays a role in the production of mycotoxins by secondary metabolism. Slightly xerophilic fungi frequently associated halophenol biomethylation include Trichoderma longibrachiatum, Trichoderma virgatum, Aspergillus sydowii, and Penicillium islandicum. (TR55)

  • Critical Process (CP)

    A process that impacts a critical quality attribute of the intermediate, drug substance or drug product being manufactured and therefore should have established critical process parameters that can be monitored or controlled to ensure that the process produces the desired quality.

  • Cytopathic Effect (CPe)

    Morphological changes induced by viruses in infected cells in invitro culture. They are usually localized around a site of initial infection and vary in appearance based on the virus and the cultured cell. (TR47)

  • Cytopathic Virus

    Viruses where infection of cells results in microscopically visible degeneration of the cells or other morphological changes. (TR47)

  • Excipient

    A component of a drug formulation that has no active pharmacologic function. Excipients are commonly used in drug formulations as modulators of pH or osmolality for parenteral administration and as stabilizers for APIs. (TR54-4)

    An ingredient added intentionally to the drug substance that should not have pharmacological properties in the quantity used. (TR57)

    Inactive pharmaceutical ingredients in a product formulation that are responsible for the product’s manufacturability and physicochemical attributes. (TR67) (TR88)

  • Intraperitoneal (i.p.)

    Term defines when a chemical is administered through the peritoneal cavity (area that contains the abdominal organs). (TR55)

  • Opportunistic Pathogens

    Microorganisms responsible for infection in injured, invasively treated or immune-suppressed individuals that typically do not cause infection in healthy individuals, unlike frank pathogens. (TR67)

  • Pathogen

    Any microorganism which by direct interaction with (i.e., infection of) another organism causes disease in the organism (by convention, a multi-cellular organism). (TR51)

  • Recipient Related

    A microorganism that, due to its numbers and pathogenicity, can cause infection, allergic response or toxemia in patients receiving the product. (TR67)

  • Registration Stability Lots

    The lots of drug substance manufactured to es­tablish the stability profile in support of the regu­latory filing. (TR56)

  • Syncytial Forming Units (SfU)

    A clumping of fused neighboring cells (syncytia) caused by viral infection when viral fusion proteins are transported to the surface of the infected cells and cause the host cell membrane to fuse with neighboring cells. The number of syncytia is directly correlated to the number of infectious virus particles. (TR47)