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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 #

 
 
  • Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API)

    Synonym: Drug Substance. (TR14) (TR42)

    A substance or mixture of substances that, when delivered in a finished drug product, directly affects the structure or function of the body. (TR54-4)

    Any substance or mixture of substance intended to be used in the manufacture of a drug (medicinal) product and that, when used in the production of a drug, becomes an active ingredient of the drug product. Such substances are intended to furnish pharmacological activity or other direct effect in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease or to affect the structure and function of the body. Note: also known as Drug Substance. (TR29) (TR56) (TR41) (TR54-3) (TR60)

    Any substance or mixture of substances intended to be used in the compounding of a drug preparation, thereby becoming the active ingredient in that preparation and furnishing pharmacological activity o other direct effect in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in humans and animals or affecting the structure and function of the body. (TR63) (TR70)

    Any substance or mixture of substances intended to be used in the manufacture of a drug product, and that when used in the production of a drug, becomes an active ingredient in the drug product. Such substances are intended to furnish pharmacological activity or other direct effect in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, or to affect the structure and function of the body. (TR74)

  • Biological Active Substance

    Manufactured biological active substances and medicinal products involving biological process­es and materials, such as cultivation of cells or extraction from living organisms. (TR56)

  • Biologics License Application (BLA)

    An application, filed with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which contains specific information on the manufacturing processes, chemistry, pharmacology, clinical pharmacology and the medical effects of the biologic product (similar function as the Marketing Authorization Application in Europe). (TR56)

  • Cells at Limit of invitro Cell Age Used for Production

    Cells used for production which are at the limit of their invitro cell age. Note Also known as, “End-of-Production-Cells”. (TR56)

  • Certificate of Analysis (CoA)

    The certification by a supplier of the performance of the material tested against a set of specifications, such asidentity, purity, moisture content, pH, color, bioburden, endotoxin, etc. (TR56)

  • Chemistry Manufacturing and Controls (CMC)

    The body of information that defines the technical development, manufacturing facility and support utilities; the process equipment and materials used in manufacturing; the manufacturing process itself; the personnel involved in manufacturing and qual­ity; the chemistry of the product; QC in process and release testing, specifications, and stability of the product; all of the controls, documentation, and training necessary to ensure that all of these listed ac­tivities are properly and effectively carried out. (TR56)

  • Conformance Batches

    Batches prepared to demonstrate when the process operates according to defined ranges of operat­ing parameters and under controlled conditions, meet predetermined quality attributes (sometimes referred to as “validation” batches and demonstra­tion batches). (TR56)

  • Control Strategy

    A planned set of controls, derived from current product and process understanding, which ensures process performance and product quality. The controls can include parameters and attributes related to drug substance and drug product materials and components, facility and equipment operating conditions, in-process controls, finished product specifications, and the associated methods and frequency of monitoring and control. (TR 54) (TR 60) (TR 54-5) (TR56)

  • Critical Process Parameter (CPP) or Critical Operational Parameter

    A process parameter whose variability has an impact on a critical quality attribute and therefore should be monitored or controlled to ensure the process produces the desired quality. (TR54) (TR54-4) (TR56) (TR54-5) (TR60-2) (TR5 6) (TR 81)

  • Critical Quality Attribute (CQA)

    A physical, chemical, biological, or microbiological property or characteristic that should be within an appropriate limit, range, or distribution to ensure the desired product quality. (TR14)(TR54)(TR54-4)(TR57)(TR57-2)(TR60)(TR01)

    Product attributes that affect product safety, identity, strength, quality and purity.(TR15)

    Attributes that describe a parameter or item that must be controlled within predetermined criteria to ensure that the medicinal product meets its specifications .(TR39)

    A defining characteristic of the product, including purity, strength, identity and safety.(TR44)

    A physical, chemical, biological or microbiological property or characteristic that should be within an appropriate limit, range, or distribution to ensure the desired product quality.(TR74)(TR 54-5)(TR81)

    A physical, chemical, biological or microbio­logical property or characteristic that should be within an appropriate limit, range, or distribu­tion to ensure the desired product quality, as de­fined in ICH Quality Guidance Q8. (TR56)

    A physical, chemical, biological, or microbio­logical property or characteristic that should be within an appropriate limit, range, or distribu­tion to ensure the desired product quality. (TR60-2)

  • Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs)

    Practices and systems that are required to be followed for pharmaceutical manufacturing to ensure that the products produced meet specific requirements for identity, strength, quality, and purity. (TR54)

    Refers to the Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations enforced by the FDA and as described in the ICH guidance (ICH Q7 and WHO GMP, for API manufacturing). Current GMP provides for systems that assure proper design, monitoring, and control of manufactur­ing processes and facilities. Adherence to cGMP regulations assures the identity, strength, quality, and purity of drug products by requiring that manufacturers of medications adequately control manufacturing operations. (TR56)

  • Drug Development

    A general term used to define the entire process of bringing a new drug to the Market. It includes drug discovery, process and product development, pre-clinical research (microorganisms/cell culture/animals) and Clinical trials (on humans). (TR56)

  • Drug Substance (DS)

    The active ingredient that is subsequently formulated with excipients to produce the drug product. It can be composed of the desired product, product-related substances, and product- and process-related impurities. It may also contain excipients, including buffers and other components. [Synonyms: bulk drug substance, bulk material, active pharmaceutical ingredient (API)] (TR14) (TR57) (TR74) (TR60)

    Active pharmaceutical ingredient in a drug product that is responsible for that product’s therapeutic activity.(TR67) (TR82) 

    See Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API). (TR56)

  • Early Phase

    Generally used to indicate Phase 1 and A clinical studies.(TR 56)
  • Early Phase (Generally used to indicate the following clinical study activities)

    Generally used to indicate the following clinical study activities: Microdosing Studies, Phase 1 Trials, Phase 2 Trials, and Phase 3 Trials. See any of the following studies for more information. (TR56)

  • Early Phase (Generally used to indicate the following clinical study activities) --Microdosing Studies

    Studies designed to speed up the development of promising drugs by establishing very early on whether the drug or agent behaves in human subjects as was expected from preclinical studies. May include the administration of single sub therapeutic doses of the study drug to a small number of subjects (10 to 15) to gather preliminary data on the agent’s pharmacokinetics (how the body processes the drug) and pharmacodynamics (how the drug works in the body). A microdosing study gives no data on safety or efficacy, being by definition a dose too low to cause any therapeutic effect. (TR56)

  • Early Phase (Generally used to indicate the following clinical study activities)--Phase 1 Trials

    Phase 1 trials are the first stage of testing in human subjects. Often, a small (20-100) group of healthy volunteers will be selected. For life-threatening indications such as oncology, these can be patients that have the target disease but may not yet be the ideal target population. This Phase includes trials designed to assess the safety (pharmacovigilance), tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of a drug. These trials are often conducted in an inpatient clinic, where the subject can be observed by full-time staff. (TR56)

  • Early Phase (Generally used to indicate the following clinical study activities)--Phase 2 Trials

    Once the initial safety of the study drug has been confirmed in Phase 1 trials, Phase 2 trials are performed on larger groups (20-300) are designed to assess efficacy, as well as to continue safety assessments in a large group of volunteers and patients. Phase 2a is specifically designed to assess dosing requirements (how much drug should be given). Phase 2b trials are specifically designed to study efficacy (how well the drug works at the prescribed dose(s). (TR56)

  • Early Phase (Generally used to indicate the following clinical study activities)--Phase 3 Trials

    Final clinical stage Phase 3 trials are designed to demonstrate the potential advantages of the new therapy over other therapies already on the market; safety and efficacy of the new therapy are studies over a long period of time and many more patients (1,000-3,000) are enrolled into the study with less restrictive eligibility criteria; phase 3 studies are intended to help scientists identify rarer side effects of treatment and prepare for a broader application of the product; phase 3 trials enroll patients to verify efficacy and monitor adverse reactions during longer-term use. (TR56)

  • End-Of-Production Cells (EOPC)

    Cells cultured (under conditions comparable to those used in production) from the MCB or WCB to a passage level or population doubling level comparable to or beyond the highest level reached in production. Note: The ICH term is: “Cells at Limit of invitro Cell Age Used for Production”.
    Note: The term as defined in ICH Guidance Q5 D is “Cells at Limit of in vitro Cell Age Used for Production”; also abbreviated as EPC. (TR56)

  • Good Distribution Practices (GDPs)

    Defined as that part of quality assurance that ensures that the quality of the pharmaceutical product is maintained by means of adequate control of numerous activities which occur during the distribution process. (TR55)

    (commonly abbreviated GDP, or as GDocP to distinguish from “Good Distribution Practice”) Describes standards by which documents are cre­ated and maintained. (TR56)

  • Marketing Authorization Application (MAA)

    An application submitted by a sponsor to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for approval to market a new drug for human use in Europe. The MAA is similar in purpose to the Biologic License Application (BLA) or New Drug Application (NDA) in the United States. (TR56)

  • Method Qualification

    Formal or informal study performed to assess initial method performance prior to full ICH Q2 (R1) validation; assessment activity that cul­minates in a scientifically sound method that has an acceptable level of performance and is docu­mented to be suitable for its intended use. (TR56)

    Experimental studies performed to confirm the inherent performance capabilities of a test method for the material being analyzed and the intended use of the method. Method qualification can be performed during early development phases, prior to method validation. Specific method qualification characteristics (e.g., accuracy, specificity) should be confirmed based on the intended use of the analytical method and the relevant risk(s). (TR57)

  • Method Validation

    A formal, archived demonstration of the analyti­cal capacity of an assay that provides justification for use of the assay for an intended purpose. (TR56)

    A formal, archived demonstration of the analytical capacity of an assay that provides justification for use of the assay for an intended purpose. Validations are conducted prospectively according to a written, approved plan that states acceptance criteria. (TR57) (TR57-2)

  • Microdosing Studies

    Studies designed to speed up the development of promising drugs by establishing early on whether the drug or agent behaves in human subjects as was expected from preclinical studies. May in­clude the administration of single subtherapeutic doses of the study drug to a small number of sub­jects (10 to 15) to gather preliminary data on the agent’s pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynam­ics. A Microdosing study gives no data on safety or efficacy, being by definition a dose too low to cause any therapeutic effect. (TR56)

  • New Drug Application (NDA)

    An application filed with the FDA used for the regulation and control of new drugs in the Unit­ed States; the goal is to provide enough infor­mation to permit the FDA reviewer to reach the following key decisions: whether the drug is safe and effective in its proposed use(s), and wheth­er the benefits of the drug outweigh the risks; whether the drugs proposed labeling (package insert) is appropriate, and what it should con­tain; whether the methods used in manufactur­ing the drug, and the controls used to maintain the drug’s quality are adequate to preserve the drug’s identity, strength, quality, and purity. (TR56)

  • Nonclinical Laboratory Study

    For this report, nonclinical laboratory study means in vivo or in vitro experiments, in which test arti­cles are studied prospectively in test systems under laboratory conditions in order to determine their safety. The definition does not include: studies us­ing human subjects or clinical studies, field trials in animals, or any basic exploratory studies carried out to determine whether a test article has any po­tential utility or to determine physical or chemical characteristics as described in ICH S6 and 21 CFR Part 58 (GLP).
    Note: Also referred to as Preclinical, Toxicity or “Tox” studies. (TR56)

  • Pedigree

    A statement of origin for a drug, active ingredi­ent, or other critical starting material that identi­fies the original source of the material and each sale, purchase, or trade prior to receipt by the user, including the dates, names, and addresses of all parties involved in such transactions. Note: Also called a “batch tree.” (TR56)

  • Pharmacodynamics

    How the drug works in the body, the biochemical and physiological effects of drug and its mecha­nisms of their actions. (TR56)

  • Pharmacokinetics

    How the body processes the drug; the study of the movement of drugs in the body, including the processes of absorption, distribution, localization in tissues, biotransformation, and excretion. (TR56)

  • Phase 1 Clinical Trials

    Phase 1 trials are the first stage of testing in hu­man subjects. Often, a small (20-100) group of healthy volunteers will be selected. For life-threat­ening indications such as oncology, these can be patients that have the target disease but may not yet be the ideal target population. This Phase in­cludes trials designed to assess the safety (phar­macovigilance), tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of a drug. These trials are often conducted in an inpatient clinic, where the subject can be observed by full-time staff. (TR56)

  • Phase 2 Clinical Trials

    Once the initial safety of the study drug has been con­firmed in Phase 1 trials, Phase 2 trials are performed on larger groups (20-300) and are designed to assess efficacy, as well as to continue safety assessments in a larger group of volunteers and patients. Phase 2a is specifically designed to assess dosing requirements (how much drug should be given). Phase 2b trials are specifically designed to study efficacy (how well the drug works at the prescribed dose(s). (TR56)

  • Phase 3 Clinical Trials

    Final clinical stage Phase 3 trials are designed to demonstrate the potential advantages of the new therapy; safety and efficacy of the new therapy are studied over a longer period of time, and more patients (1,000-3,000) are enrolled in the study with less restrictive eligibility criteria. Phase 3 studies are intended to help scientists identify rarer side effects of treatment and prepare for a broader application of the product. Phase 3 trials enroll patients to verify efficacy and monitor ad­verse reactions during long term use. (TR56)

  • Process Characterization

    Studies performed during process development to establish acceptable ranges for key input vari­ables and critical operational parameters that de­fine the process design space. (TR56)

  • Process Validation

    The documented evidence that the process, operated within established parameters, can perform effectively and reproducibly to produce an intermediate or API (drug substance) meeting its predetermined specifications and quality attributes. (TR14) (TR42)

    Establishing documented evidence which provides a high degree of assurance that a specific process will consistently produce a product meeting its predetermined specifications and quality attributes. (TR44)

    The collection and evaluation of data, from the process design stage through commercial production, which establishes scientific evidence that a process is capable of consistently delivering quality products. (TR54) (TR57) (TR74) 

    The collection and evaluation of data, from the pro­cess design stage through commercial production, which establishes scientific evidence that a process is capable of consistently delivering quality product.
    The documented evidence that the process, op­erated within established parameters, can per­form effectively and reproducibly to produce a medicinal product meeting its predetermined specifications and quality attributes, as described in EMA, EU GMP, Part 1, Annex 15, drug/me­dicinal product. (TR56)

    EMA: The documented evidence that the process, op­erated within established parameters, can per­form effectively and reproducibly to produce a medicinal product meeting its predetermined specifications and quality attributes.
    US FDA: The collection and evaluation of data, from the process design stage through commercial pro­duction, which establishes scientific evidence that a process is capable of consistently deliver­ing quality products. (TR60-2)

  • Product Characterization

    The characterization of quality attributes, such as peptide map, glycosylation, chromatography pro­file, molecular weight, gel chromatogram, poly­morphs, etc. (TR56)


  • Qualified Person (QP)

    An individual as defined in the European Union pharmaceutical regulation as described in Direc­tive 2001/83/EC that has the legal responsibil­ity for batch release of medicinal products.
    Note: See also EU GMP Annex 16, Certification by a Qualified Person and Batch Release. (TR56)

  • Quality Assurance (QA)

    The sum total of the organized arrangements made with the object of ensuring that all materi­als are of the quality required for their intended use and that quality system is maintained. (TR56)

  • Registration Stability Lots

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

  • Reserve/Reference Samples

    An appropriately identified reserve sample that is representative of each lot of intermediate product and in each shipment of each active ingredient shall be retained (at least twice the quantity nec­essary for all tests required to determine whether the active ingredient meets its established specifi­cations; this is a regulatory Requirement). (TR56)

  • Retain (Retention) Samples

    Intermediate and final and finished product samples that are stored for the intent of repeating any in-process or release analysis. Typically this is twice the amount of material that is required to perform these. (TR56)

  • Specification

    A list of tests, references to analytical procedures, and appropriate acceptance criteria that are numerical limits, ranges, or other criteria for the test described. It establishes the set of criteria to which a material should conform to be considered acceptable for its intended use. (TR14)

    A list of tests, references to analytical procedures, and appropriate acceptance criteria that are numerical limits, ranges, or other criteria for the test described. It establishes the set of criteria to which a material should conform to be considered acceptable for its intended use. Drug product and drug substance specifications are critical quality standards that are proposed and justified by the manufacturer and approved by regulatory authorities (TR38) (TR57)

    A list of tests, references to analytical procedures, and appropriate acceptance criteria that are numerical limits, ranges, or other criteria for the test described. It establishes the set of criteria to which a material should conform to be considered acceptable for its intended use. Drug product and drug substance specifications are critical quality standards that are proposed and justified by the manufacturer and approved by regulatory authorities (TR69)

    A list of tests, references to analytical procedures, and appropriate acceptance criteria, which are numerical limits, ranges, or other criteria for the tests described. It establishes the set of criteria to which a drug substance, drug product, or materials at other stages of its manufacture should conform to be considered acceptable for its intended use. “Conformance to specification” means that the drug substance and drug product, when tested according to the listed analytical procedures, will meet the acceptance criteria. Specifications are critical quality standards that are proposed and justified by the manufacturer and approved by regulatory authorities as conditions of approval. (TR56) (TR74) 

  • Test Article

    Any food additive, color additive, drug, biologi­cally derived product, etc., for human use or any other article subject to regulation. “Test Article,” in this report’s context, referring to the samples used for toxicity and stability studies. (TR56)

  • Toxicity Studies (also referred to as “Tox” studies)

    In vivo or in vitro experiments in which test ar­ticles are studied prospectively in test systems un­der laboratory conditions with the primary goals of identifying the following: 1) an initial safe dose and subsequent dose es­calation schemes in humans; 2) potential target organs for toxicity and for the study of whether such toxicity is reversible; and, 3) safety param­eters for clinical monitoring after the appropriate dosing and administering schedule is followed (relevant to the drug being studied). In toxicity studies, the test animals are examined by histo­logical or serological methods in order to iden­tify toxic, mutagenic, or teratogenic effects of the drug. It is sometimes possible to collect physi­ological data from the animals prior to sacrifice. Some toxicity studies may be performed using cell culture methods. Toxicity studies are also de­scribed by the U.S. FDA as “nonclinical labora­tory studies” and by ICH as “preclinical safety evaluations”. 

    The definition does not include studies using human subjects or clinical studies, field trials in animals, or any basic exploratory studies car­ried out to determine whether a test article has any potential utility or to determine physical or chemical characteristics as described in ICH S6 and 21 CFR Part 58 (GLP). (TR56)