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Spotlight Alert | Aspen Xchange

Spotlight Alert

A new integrated continuous biomanufacturing platform for continuous production of antibodies at fixed cell volumes and cell concentrations for extended periods with immediate capture is presented. Upstream antibody production has reached technological maturity, however, the bottleneck for continuous biomanufacturing remains the efficient and cost-effective capture of therapeutic antibodies in an initial chromatography step. In this study, the first successful attempt at using one-column continuous chromatography (OCC) for the continuous capture of therapeutic antibodies produced through alternating tangential flow perfusion is presented... Learn More

The applications of mass spectrometry in the pharmaceutical industry have long been established. Mass spectrometers are highly versatile and commonly used to identify reagents, products, contaminants, and impurities from samples in drug research and development, scale-up, and high volume manufacturing lines. However, the instruments are normally large, power demanding, and expensive pieces of equipment operated in centralized laboratories by MS specialists. The new demands of bioprocessing, used to make biologics, means that there is a need for analytical instruments, such as mass spectrometers, to provide real-time information (on-line and at-line) at the point-of-need. Learn More

Viral inactivation plays a critical role in assuring the safety of mAb therapeutics. Traditional viral inactivation involves large holding tanks in which product is maintained at a target low pH for a defined hold time, typically 30-60 minutes. The drive toward continuous and improved facility utilization has provided motivation for development of a continuous viral inactivation process. To this end, a lab-scale prototype viral inactivation system was designed, built, and characterized. Multiple incubation chamber designs are evaluated to identify the optimal design that enables narrow residence time distributions in continuous flow systems... Learn More

Herein, we showed for the first time that exosomes, which are nano-sized extracellular vesicles, derived from CHO cells inhibited apoptosis in CHO cell culture when supplemented to the culture medium. Flow cytometric and microscopic analyses revealed that substantial amounts of exosomes were delivered to CHO cells. Higher cell viability after staurosporine treatment was observed by exosome supplementation (67.3%) as compared to control (41.1%). Furthermore, exosomes prevented the mitochondrial membrane potential loss and caspase-3 activation, meaning that the exosomes enhanced cellular activities under pro-apoptotic condition... Learn More

Protein biologics have emerged as a safe and effective group of drug products that can be used in a variety of medical disorders and clinical settings, including treatment of orphan diseases, personalized medicine, and point-of-care applications. However, the full potential of protein biologics for such applications will not be realized until there are methods available for rapid and cost-effective production of small scale products for individual needs. Here, we describe a modular and scalable method for rapid and adaptable production of protein-based medical products at small doses. The method includes cell-free synthesis of the protein target in a reactor module... Learn More

To meet the ever-growing demand for effective, safe, and affordable protein therapeutics, decades of intense efforts have aimed to maximize the quantity and quality of recombinant proteins produced in CHO cells. Bioprocessing innovations and cell engineering efforts have improved product titer; however, uncharacterized cellular processes and gene regulatory mechanisms still hinder cell growth, specific productivity, and protein quality. Herein, we summarize recent advances in systems biology and data-driven approaches aiming to unravel how molecular pathways, cellular processes, and extrinsic factors (e.g. media supplementation) influence recombinant protein production... Learn More

The manufacturing of recombinant protein is traditionally divided in two main steps: upstream (cell culture and synthesis of the target protein) and downstream (purification and formulation of the protein into a drug substance or drug product). Today, cost pressure, market uncertainty and market growth, challenge the existing manufacturing technologies. Leaders in the field are active in designing the process of the future and continuous manufacturing is recurrently mentioned as a potential solution to address some of the current limitations. This review focuses on the application of continuous processing to the first step of the manufacturing process... Learn More

This paper describes a new pH-responsive peptide tag that adds a protein reversible precipitation and redissolution character. This peptide tag is a part of a cell surface protein B (CspB) derived from Corynebacterium glutamicum.
Proinsulin that genetically fused with a peptide of N-terminal 6, 17, 50, or 250 amino acid residues of CspB showed that the reversible precipitation and redissolution depended on the pH. The transition occurred within a physiological and narrow pH range. A CspB50 tag comprising 50 amino acid residues of N-terminal CspB was further evaluated as a representative using other pharmaceutical proteins... Learn More

Single-use (SU) technologies and continuous bioprocessing have attracted attention as potential facilitators of cost-optimized manufacturing for monoclonal antibodies. While disposable bioprocessing has been adopted at many scales of manufacturing, continuous bioprocessing has yet to reach the same level of implementation. In this study, the cost of goods of Pall Life Science's integrated, continuous bioprocessing (ICB) platform is modeled, along with that of purification processes in stainless-steel and SU batch formats. All three models include costs associated with downstream processing only. Evaluation of the models across a broad range of clinical and commercial scenarios reveal that the cost savings gained by switching from stainless-steel to SU batch processing are often amplified by continuous operation. Learn More

Single-cell analysis in microfluidic cultivation devices bears a great potential for the development and optimization of industrial bioprocesses. High parallelization allows running a large number of cultivation experiments simultaneously even under quick alteration of environmental conditions. For example, the impact of changes in media composition on cell growth during classical batch cultivation can be easily resolved. A missing link for the scalability of microfluidic experiments is, however, their complete characterization via conventional performance indicators such as product titer and productivity. Learn More

Virus filtration membranes contribute to the virus safety of biopharmaceutical drugs due to their capability to retain virus particles mainly based on size-exclusion mechanisms. In this work, virus filtration membranes were challenged with gold nanoparticles (GNPs) in order to determine PSGs for a wide range of different commercial and non-commercial parvovirus retentive membranes differing in structure, material and surface chemistry. GNP adsorption to the membrane material was suppressed by the use of an anionic surfactant, allowing to gain insights into size-exclusion properties of the membranes. Membrane performance with regard to fouling was further investigated by determination of protein mass throughputs up-to a defined membrane flux decay using solutions containing IVIG as model protein.
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Editors Choice from AspenXchange

Decoupling upstream and downstream operations in biopharmaceutical production could enable more flexible manufacturing operations and could allow companies to leverage strategic or financial benefits that would be otherwise unattainable. A decoupling process was developed and scaled up utilizing single-pass tangential flow filtration for volume reduction, followed by bulk freezing in single-use bags prior to purification. Single-pass tangential flow filtration can be used to continuously concentrate harvested cell culture fluid, reducing the volume by 15-25× with a step yield of >96%. These concentration factors were reproduced with a second product, indicating that the process could be amenable to platform processes. Learn More

Editors Choice from AspenXchange

There is a continuous need to improve the viral safety of plasma products, and we here report the development and optimization of a manufacturing-scale virus removal nanofiltration step for intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) using the recently introduced Planova™ BioEX filter. IVIG throughput was examined for various operating parameters: transmembrane pressure, temperature, protein concentration, and prefiltration methods. The developed procedure was based on filtering undiluted process solution under constant transmembrane pressure filtration following prefiltration with a MILLEX VV filter. The recovery of IgG was approximately 98%, and no substantial changes in biochemical characteristics were observed before and after nanofiltration in scaled-up production... Learn More

Editors Choice from AspenXchange

Membrane filtration is a key separations technique in downstream bioprocessing applications: for a commercial bioprocess operation, 10-20 membrane-related steps are typically required. At the laboratory scale, the evaluation of membrane separation performance often involves a 'stirred cell device'; however, this simple tool is poorly suited for conducting high-throughput studies of separation performance. Here, we designed a high-throughput stirred cell (HTSC) device which is ideally suited for conducting optimization studies, especially at the early stages of bioprocess development when small volumes of feed material are available. Learn More

This material, from the Spotlight on Filtration currently underway in the ASPENXCHANGE, was selected by the Editor for its candor and insights.

Depth filtration is widely used in downstream bioprocessing to remove particulate contaminants via depth straining and is therefore applied to harvest clarification and other processing steps. However, depth filtration also removes proteins via adsorption, which can contribute variously to impurity clearance and to reduction in product yield. The adsorption may occur on the different components of the depth filter, i.e., filter aid, binder and cellulose filter. We measured adsorption of several model proteins and therapeutic proteins onto filter aids, cellulose and commercial depth filters and correlated the adsorption data to bulk measured properties such as surface area, morphology, surface charge density and composition. We also explored the role of each depth filter component in the adsorption of proteins with different net charges, using confocal microscopy. Our findings show that a complete depth filter's maximum adsorptive capacity for proteins can be estimated by its protein monolayer coverage values, depending on the protein size. Furthermore, the extent of adsorption of different proteins appears to depend on the nature of the resin binder and its extent of coating over the depth filter surface, particularly in masking the cation-exchanger-like capacity of the siliceous filter aids. In addition to guiding improved depth filter selection, the findings can be leveraged in inspiring a more intentional selection of components and design of depth filter construction, for particular impurity removal targets. Learn More


Good scalability and robust handling have promoted the application of membrane based cell retention devices. A physical barrier, i.e. a filter, retains cells and cell debris. One major drawback of these devices is their ten-dency to foul and clog. One form of fouling is deposit layer formation on the filter surface, consisting of cells, cell debris and other fermentation broth constituents. This leads to the build-up of a secondary membrane, which can alter the permeation profile. Furthermore, deposit layers lead to an increased filtration resistance and thus negatively affect permeate flux, filtration efficiency and process robustness. Learn More

Mycoplasma contamination represents a significant problem to the culture of mammalian cells used for research as it can cause disastrous effects on eukaryotic cells by altering cellular parameters leading to unreliable experimental results. Mycoplasma cells are very small bacteria therefore they cannot be detected by visual inspection using a visible light microscope and, thus, can remain unnoticed in the cell cultures for long periods. The detection techniques used nowadays to reveal mycoplasma contamination are time consuming and expensive with each having significant drawbacks. The ideal detection should be simple to perform with minimal preparation time, rapid, inexpensive, and sensitive. To our knowledge, for the first time, we employed Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) microspectroscopy to investigate whether we can differentiate between control cells and the same cells which have been infected with mycoplasmas during the culturing process. Chemometric methods such as HCA and PCA were used for the data analysis in order to detect spectral differences between control and intentionally infected cells, and spectral markers were revealed even at low contamination level. The preliminary results showed that FTIR has the potential to be used in the future as a reliable complementary detection technique for mycoplasma-infected cells. Learn More