Upstream Processing

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…

Development of a Host-Cell Protein Platform Assay for a Chinese Hamster Ovary Cell Line

The Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell line is the most prevalent biopharmaceutical expression system and has been proven safe for commercial production of protein therapeutics (1). However, even after multiple purification steps, biopharmaceuticals contain residual host-cell protein (HCP) impurities that pose a potential safety risk to patients (2). Health authorities demand close monitoring of HCP impurities and require sensitive analytical methods with high coverage: the ability to detect a broad range of HCP impurities (3, 4). Polyclonal sandwich immunoassays are…

The Unican Concept: Engineering Dual Capability into Single-Use Vessels

Use of disposable bioreactors in the biopharmaceutical industry has increased gradually over the past several years in pilot, clinical, and production scale facilities (1–4). Reduced time to market in today’s drug industry has created a need for cost-effective development and production strategies as well as manufacturing flexibility. When compared with traditional stainless steel equipment, disposable bioreactor and mixing systems have smaller space requirements, are portable, and come presterilized to eliminate the need for preuse sterilization procedures such as steam-in-place (SIP).…

Process Development of Microbial Plasmid DNA: Fast-Tracking with Modular Single-Use Minibioreactors

There has been a rapid rise in the number of positive clinical outputs from clinical studies based on gene and cell therapies. This is in addition to the licensing of products such as GlaxoSmithKline’s Strimvelis ex-vivo stem-cell therapy for treatment of severe combined immunodeficiency caused by adenosine deaminase deficiency (ADA-SCID) in 2016 (1) — has led to an increase in demand for therapeutic vector manufacturing capabilities. Viral vectors are being used for an increasing range of conditions, including monogenetic conditions.…

Continuous Processes: Disposables Enable the Integration of Upstream and Downstream Processing

Despite decades of advancement in characterization analytics, biotherapeutics still are largely defined by the manufacturing processes used to make them. This linking of process to clinical results (and thus to commercial success) has made the biopharmaceutical industry somewhat risk-averse when it comes to the adoption of new technologies. That desire to “derisk” biomanufacturing through better process understanding — as well as the need to adapt to uncertainties in patient population size through process flexibility — in turn drives the need…

Difficult-to-Express Proteins: Resolving Bioprocessing Challenges with a Scalable Perfusion Bioreactor

Recent advances in protein engineering have identified new classes of complex biotherapeutics that challenge existing manufacturing platforms. These products have unique cell culture requirements that make them difficult to manufacture cost effectively. Industry standard bioprocessing platforms include large-scale (1,000–5,000 L) batch and fed-batch stirred-tank bioreactors. Historically, the powerhouse molecule of the biologics industry has been human IgG, which necessitates those large-scale platforms. Difficult-to-express proteins and other new modalities (including precision medicine and orphan drugs) have increased pressure on manufacturers to…

The Industry’s Hesitation to Adopt Continuous Bioprocessing: Recommendations for Deciding What, Where, and When to Implement

The US Food and Drug Administration has stated its appreciation of continuous bioprocessing (CBP), and some studies have shown that it can save manufacturers time and money. However, the bioprocessing industry is still reluctant to implement continuous bioprocessing right away. It will be interesting to see which companies will be among the first-movers to harness the competitive benefits. Although few biologics today are made using CBP-enabled equipment (e.g., advanced bioreactors), the industry is changing. For biologics already in production, it…

BioPhorum Operations Group Technology Roadmapping, Part 3: Enabling Technologies and Capabilities

Although great strides have been made over the past 20 years to increase the productivity and robustness of manufacturing processes for biopharmaceuticals, the cost and complexity of their development and manufacturing remain high, especially in comparison with those of small-molecule pharmaceuticals. Process improvements are required to increase patient access while maintaining the viability of an R&D-driven biopharmaceutical industry. Facility productivity, cost of goods (CoG), and capital investment all have significant margins for improvement. Such goals can be achieved not only…

Aggregation from Shear Stress and Surface Interaction: Molecule-Specific or Universal Phenomenon?

Exposure to solid–liquid and air–water interfaces during production, freezing and thawing, shipment and storage of protein therapeutics may be a contributing factor in their degradation (e.g., aggregation, fragmentation) (1, 2). Surface exposure, particularly during manufacturing processes, often is accompanied by various degrees and durations of shear stresses originating from fluid flow and acting on proteins at interfaces. The magnitude and duration of shear rates depends on velocity gradients within each solution and varies significantly among manufacturing steps. On the low…