Laboratory Equipment

NIR Spectroscopy for Process Monitoring and Control in Mammalian Cell Cultivation

The quality by design (QbD) and process analytical technology (PAT) approaches have shown significant benefit in the classical pharmaceutical industry and are now strongly influencing bioprocessing. Monitoring critical process parameters (CPPs) during biotechnological cell cultivations is essential to maintaining high efficiencies and quality. Commercial sensor systems for real-time inline monitoring are available for some parameters, such as pH or the concentration of dissolved oxygen (DO). For others such as glucose concentration, total cell count (TCC), and viability no robust online…

Automation of Microbioreactors

Current methodologies in genetics and microbiology enable researchers to influence metabolic pathways of microbial cells in many directions. Beside the academic interest in investigating fundamental functions in metabolic pathways, commercial production of valuable compounds by microbial hosts is state of the art. For example, such products include enzymes (lipases, proteases, phytases), therapeutic agents (insulin, antibodies), bulk chemicals (lysine, glutamate, citric acid), or the microbial cells themselves (used in brewing or milk processing), with therapeutic agents probably the fastest growing market.…

Cookie Cutter Proteolysis: Achieving Reproducible, Efficient Digestions for Proteomic Workflows

Cookie Cutter Proteolysis: Achieving Reproducible, Efficient Digestions for Proteomic Workflows   Protein sample preparation workflows for mass spectrometric analysis that involve proteolysis are often labor-intensive, time consuming and user dependent. These workflows often involve digestion, solid phase extraction, drying, and re-suspension prior to reversed phase separation into the mass spectrometer. The introduction of variability at many of these steps hinders discovery initiatives as well as the ability to convert these discoveries into viable assays.   Recently, an automated protein digestion…

Keeping New Technologies Coming

The biomanufacturing industry is heavily invested in improvements in productivity and efficiency, and innovation is a critical component to ensuring gains in these areas. Yet that is not always the case. Suppliers and innovators in this market face greater challenges, and much longer product evaluation cycles than in other segments, for example the information technology or semiconductor industries. In the highly regulated biomanufacturing environment, changing any aspect of a process can potentially necessitate additional regulatory submissions to the US Food…

“Transformation By Infection”

Every bioprocess begins with an expression system, and every expression system begins with DNA transfection. Derived from transformation and infection, the word paradoxically has come to be applied mainly to nonviral methods of genetically engineering cells; viral-vector–mediated DNA transfer is often called transduction. There are chemical, particulate, physical/mechanical, and viral means of getting new genetic material into a cell, and that DNA may take a number of different forms. Even the cloning method (pictured right) using a microscopic needle to…

Amplifying the Possibilities

Polymerases are natural enzymes that are vital to nucleic acid synthesis: DNA polymerase for replication of deoxyribonucleic acid and RNA polymerase for replication of ribonucleic acid. Thus all living things make and use polymerases of their own. But in 1969, the University of Wisconsin’s Thomas D. Brock and Hudson Freeze identified a new species of extremophilic bacterium thriving at 160 °F (70 °C) in a hot spring in Yellowstone National Park. In time, heat-tolerant polymerase isolated from Thermus aquaticus (Taq)…

Single-Use Pumps Take Center Stage

The multibillion-dollar global biopharmaceutical industry is placing increased emphasis on development and manufacture of advanced biologics. Such products offer exciting potential for the development of drugs that could provide as-yet-unknown treatments for a wide array of diseases. One important goal is to commercialize biologic products as early as possible within the typical 20-year patent window. Patent submission must occur during drug development. Much work follows a patent filing, including further product development, toxicity checks, and clinical trials. Hopefully, US Food…

Implementing Disposable Sampling Devices for Fully Autoclaved Equipment

Sampling is used extensively to monitor both behavior and quality throughout biopharmaceutical processesing (1, 2). Methods must deliver representative samples and — more important — not compromise the integrity of a given unit operation or the process of which it is part. When microorganisms, animal cells, viruses, or nonfilterable materials are involved, sampling methods must not introduce contamination (see the “Regulatory Requirements” box). For successful sampling, three methods have been used routinely over the years: steam-in-place (SIP) valves; aseptic tube…

2012 in Review

As children growing up, we could barely contain our anticipation for those banner, milestone years: entering first grade, becoming a teenager, turning 16 and then 18, high-school graduation. But even the most innocuous “in-between” years saw notable change and maturation, and 2012 was just such a year for the growing cell therapy sector. Although it is not likely to be noted as a pivotal or breakthrough year, 2012 nonetheless delivered some significant and welcome signposts of continued sector maturation. Here…

A Powerful Pairing

Biological product and process characterization are not new to this quality by design (QbD) and process analytical technology (PAT) era. In the 1990s we saw the FDA introduce the concept of well-characterized biologics: an acknowledgment that analytical technology had advanced to the point where the bioprocess did not necessarily (or not fully, anyway) define a biopharmaceutical product. That ultimately led to the regulation of some types of products within the United States moving from the purview of FDA’s Center for…