Upstream Processing

Reducing Variability in Cell-Specific Productivity in Perfusion Culture: A Case Study

Variation in bioproduction is recognized in the industry and often attributed to one or more of four sources: raw materials (including consumables), operational inputs (measurements, methods, personnel, equipment), environmental factors, and biological variation inherent to living cells (1). Variability can occur even among replicate units regardless of production mode (e.g., fed-batch or perfusion), and it can manifest as variability in productivity, cell metabolism, and/or product quality (2–4). In commercial biomanufacturing, meeting all product quality attributes is a requirement for regulatory…

Enhanced Galactosylation of Monoclonal Antibodies: Using Medium Supplements and Precursors of UDP-Galactose, Part 1

The biopharmaceutical industry needs better understanding of how monoclonal antibody (MAb) glycosylation is influenced by components in cultivation media — and it needs methods to exert some control over the structure of MAb glycans. That structure can affect MAb function. Thus, a high-throughput (HTP) assay is needed for characterizing MAb glycosylation so that developers can observe the effects of cultivation conditions on MAb glycosylation rapidly, with a goal of producing MAbs that have a desired glycan structure. The method also…

Therapeutic IgG-Like Bispecific Antibodies: Modular Versatility and Manufacturing Challenges, Part 2

Monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) are bivalent and monospecific, with two antigen-binding arms that both recognize the same epitope. Bispecific and multispecific antibodies, collectively referred to herein as bispecific antibodies (bsAbs), can have two or more antigen-binding sites, which are capable of recognizing and binding two r more unique epitopes. Based on their structure, bsAbs can be divided into two broad subgroups: IgG-like bsAbs and non–IgG-like bsAbs. We have chosen to focus on the former in this review. Part one provides a…

Addressing Quality in Cell-Line Development: Direct Analysis of Bioreactor Harvest for Clone Selection and Process Optimization

Using Direct Analysis of Bioreactor Harvest for Clone Selection and Process Optimization Therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) mostly are manufactured using bioengineered mammalian cells cultured in a bioreactor for two to three weeks. High temperatures and an altered redox environment may compromise the quality of MAbs produced (e.g., fragmentation, truncation), as can the presence of proteases, reductases, and other chemicals released from dead cells. Thus, it would be valuable to establish analytical methods that can help cell culture groups monitor immunoglobulin…

An Approach to Generating Better Biosimilars: Considerations in Controlling Glycosylation Variability in Protein Therapeutics

The global market for biotherapeutics has expanded extensively over the past decade and is projected to account for more than a quarter of the pharmaceutical market by 2020, with sales exceeding US$290 billion (1). Continued expansion of the biosimilar marketplace has led to many commercial opportunities and technical challenges. The biological systems used to manufacture such drug products are inherently variable — a feature that has important consequences for the reproducibility, safety, and efficacy of the resulting products. Therefore, a…

Of Microbrews and Medicines: Understanding Their Similarities and Differences in Bioprocessing Can Help Improve Yields and Quality While Reducing Cost

Meeting a biopharmaceutical scientist or engineer who proclaims a love for brewing is not surprising. Perhaps it’s because of the challenge of mixing raw ingredients together and waiting patiently for the final product, maybe it’s the hands-on nature of the equipment or the data analytics entertainment, or it just might be the simple joy of creating something. Whatever attracts a scientist or engineer to making medicines and/or craft brews, a surprising number of principles hold true for both bioprocesses despite…

Addressing the Challenge of Complex Buffer Management: An In-Line Conditioning Collaboration

Preparation and storage of buffers is a challenge for biopharmaceutical companies developing protein-based pharmaceuticals. The need for volumes of buffer to purify increasing upstream titers have become a major bottleneck in biopharmaceutical downstream processing. Italian biopharmaceutical company Kedrion Biopharma collects and fractionates blood plasma to produce plasma-derived therapeutic products for treating and preventing serious diseases, disorders, and conditions such as hemophilia and immune-system deficiencies. To expand its offerings and include the immunoglobulin G fractionate of blood plasma (IgG, an antibody…

Simplify Upstream Process Development and Scale-Up: Single-Use 5:1 Turndown-Ratio Bioreactor Technology

Single-use technologies (SUTs) have been adopted widely in the biopharmaceutical industry for product development as well as clinical- and commercial-scale manufacturing. Over the years, suppliers of such equipment have addressed concerns about waste management, extractables and leachables, and reliability of supply — and as a result, end users have gained confidence in SUTs. Recognizing potential benefits that can be realized for both clinical and commercial operations, biomanufacturers increasingly are implementing SU solutions at larger scales in both upstream production and…

CO2, O2, and Biomass Monitoring in Escherichia coli Shake Flask Culture: Following Glucose–Glycerin Diauxie Online

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important parameter in microbial cultures because it can inhibit or stimulate growth under certain conditions. In our experiment, we monitored Escherichia coli diauxie growth phases online and focused on dissolved CO2 (dCO2) and oxygen readings. We assessed diauxic growth in medium containing glycerin and glucose online with the SFR vario system (from PreSens), which optically measures oxygen, pH, and biomass in an Erlenmeyer flask. The shake flask contained an oxygen sensor spot and an optical…

A Stirred, Single-Use, Small-Scale Process Development System: Evaluation for Microbial Cultivation

Mammalian and microbial protein production platforms have been used for over 30 years to produce a number of successful biologic drugs, including monoclonal antibodies (MAbs), recombinant proteins, and therapeutic enzymes (1). Most biologics are produced by mammalian cell lines, with Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells being the most widely used. However, microbial cells also are used to express recombinant therapeutic proteins, and almost 30% of currently approved biologics are produced by Escherichia coli bacteria (2). With worldwide biologics sales >56…