Author Archives: Christel Fenge

Application, Biostat STR 2000, STR 2000

Continuous Cell Culture Operation at 2,000-L Scale

In the biopharmaceutical industry, continuous manufacturing is often cited as a method for increasing the productivity of bioprocesses (1). Compared with batch processing, it has the potential to enable production of more product within a smaller facility footprint — while improving product quality, particularly for sensitive and unstable molecules. Investigation into continuous methods is taking place for both upstream and downstream operations. For the full benefit of continuous processing to be realized, an argument has been made that cell culture,…

Photo 2: UniVessel SU vessel connected to
existing bioreactor controllers at GSK Vaccines
(Rixensart, Begium)

Single-Use, Stirred-Tank Bioreactors: Efficient Tools for Process Development and Characterization

During the past decade, single-use bioreactors have become widely accepted as an alternative to conventional stainless steel or glass bioreactors for clinical manufacturing and process development. In the biopharmaceutical industry, glass bioreactors are used mainly for process development and optimization, but also scale-down models for process characterization. So it is of significant importance that such vessels replicate the design of production-scale bioreactors for both reusable and single-use applications. Stirred-tank bioreactors with 2-L, 5-L, and 10-L working volumes have proven to…

Figure 1: ambr250, UniVessel SU, and BIOSTAT STR family; working volume ranges from 250 mL to 2000 L

Superior Scalability of Single-Use Bioreactors

During the past several years, single-use bioreactors have been gradually established in modern biopharmaceutical processes (1, 2). This adoption is directly linked to their unique ability to enhance flexibility and reduce investment and operational costs. Furthermore, production output can be increased, and time to market is shortened (3). Today a wide variety of single-use bioreactors exists for the cultivation of mammalian and insect cells (4), whereas only limited solutions are available for microbial cultures (5). Typically, processes are established and…

Consistently Superior Cell Growth: Achieved with New Polyethylene Film Formulation

During the past decade, single-use bioprocessing bags and bioreactors have gained a significant foothold in the biopharmaceutical industry because they offer a number of advantages over traditional stainless steel equipment, especially for clinical production, multiproduct facilities, and emerging economies. At the same time, some companies are concerned that plastic materials might release potentially toxic substances that could affect cell growth and product titers (1). In a worst-case scenario, they could even compromise drug safety when a company uses disposable bags…

Figure 8: In-house water-burst test used to qualify the strength of bags and welds

Robust and Convenient Single-Use Processing: The Superior Strength and Flexibility of Flexsafe Bags

With the increased use of disposable bioprocessing bags in all critical process steps of the biopharmaceutical drug production, there is a growing requirement for high-quality, robust, and easy-to-handle bioprocessing bags. The new generation of films and bags must combine multiple mechanical, physical, and chemical properties to make these products suitable and scalable for all processing steps in upstream, downstream, and final filling operations, including cell culture in rocking motion and/or stirred-tank, single-use bioreactors as well as storage, mixing, shipping, and…

Photo 2: Tensile and flex durability tests (photos left and middle from Reference 19)

Development and Qualification of a Scalable, Disposable Bioreactor for GMP-Compliant Cell Culture

During the development of single-use, stirred-tank bioreactors (e.g., BIOSTAT STR bioreactors), different phases can be distinguished (Figure 1). First, a clear definition of the intended application and all related requirements should be captured in a user requirement specification (URS). Based on that, the single-use bioreactor design phase and the material selection phase are initiated, both closely linked to each other. During the proof-of-concept phase, relevant component- and product-based tests are established and realized to ensure URS compliance. Finally, the qualification…

Figure 1: Seed train of the 1,000-L fed-batch cell culture run starts with one cryogenic vial before six consecutive cell-expansion steps using single-use shaker flasks and bioreactors. A 17-day fedbatch production process followed in a BIOSTAT STR 1000 system. The entire duration from
cryogenic vial to 1,000-L harvest on day 17 took 35 days.

Verification of New Flexsafe STR Single-Use Bioreactor Bags: Using a CHO Fed-Batch Monoclonal Antibody Production Process at 1,000-L Scale

In the past decade, single-use bioreactors have gained wide acceptance for biomanufacturing. The biopharmaceutical industry is increasingly interested in performing modern production processes in single-use facilities. That trend is driven by the time and cost benefits of single-use technologies, as well as the enhanced manufacturing flexibility they offer (1). With single-use bioreactors increasingly used in late-phase clinical trials and commercial production, their quality, reliability, and assurance of supply becomes more critical. Many industry experts consider process control of film and…

Figure 2: Point-of-use testing of singe-use bags

Pressure Decay Method for Postinstallation Single-Use Bioreactor Bag Testing

Single-use technology is well accepted today, and manufacturers’ quality assurance programs ensure leak-free single-use bags upon delivery. But what about risks involved with installation and other handling errors? Operator training and implementation of suitable standard operating procedures (SOPs) are mandatory, but should they be the only ways to mitigate the risk of failures? In addition, more companies are advocating the use of ballroom concepts (1) for the manufacture of biopharmaceutical drug substances and drug products. However, how do you prove…