Biochemicals/Raw Materials

A Risk-Based Aproach to Establishing Animal-Component–Free Facilities

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and its potential to affect humans emerged as a concern in the 1990s. So suppliers of many essential animal-sourced components used in cell culture and fermentation processes became concerned about the potential for material contamination with prions. Viruses also can be present in raw materials derived from animal origins. Many important drug and vaccine products are made by mammalian cell culture or bacterial fermentation, so their biological safety is paramount. However, it is very difficult to…

Nutrient Supplementation Strategies for Biopharmaceutical Production, Part 2

Some of the numerous feeding strategies are more appropriate than others for certain types of cell culture production systems. Once a nutrient supplement has been identified as described in Part 1 of this three-part review (1), a supplementation strategy must be chosen. Supplementing at too great a rate may expose log-phase cells to stresses such as increased osmolality and lactate levels that would inhibit biomass expansion. But inadequate supplementation can lead to early apoptosis through rapid depletion of selected important…

Nutrient Supplementation Strategies for Biopharmaceutical Production

Cell-culture–related in vitro recombinant protein production is currently a $70-billion/year business. In 2007, biotech drug sales grew by 12.5%, twice as fast as standard pharmaceuticals (1). Current ongoing efforts to maximize productivity in both time and volume directly affect the scale and capital investment required for a bioreactor suite. As cells reach higher concentrations more quickly while each cell pumps out more product than ever before, the number and scale of bioreactors can be reduced. To that end, not only…

Rethinking Media Performance

    Fetal bovine serum (FBS) was — and in many cases still is — the supplement of choice to maintain the viability of mammalian cells in culture. However, there are considerable limitations to its use. In the early days of cell culture, the issues surrounding serum were mainly its variable performance and the potential to contaminate cultures with fungi, viruses, and bacteria. Early attempts to produce a serum-free medium (SFM) were academic exercises that usually relied on the use…

Using Innovation to Drive Competitive Advantage

    Figure 1: () STOCKXPERT (WWW.STOCKXPERT.COM) After spending decades as the “sleepy” segment of the biopharmaceutical industry, vaccines are now seen as one of its highest growth segments. Major pharmaceutical companies — Novartis AG (www.novartis.com) and Pfizer, Inc. (www.pfizer.com), for example — are aggressively entering this area. Those already in it are expanding capacity and increasing business development activity. Indeed, access to the vaccines business was a major driver of Pfizer’s acquisition of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (www.wyeth.com) (1). Several factors…

A Readily Available Source of BSA Consistently Supports Cultivation and Differential Gene Expression

    Lyme disease caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi is the leading vector-borne illness in the United States (1). The natural infectious lifecycle of B. burgdorferi is complex in that it is necessary for the bacteria to colonize both an arthropod vector (the Ixodes scapularis tick, pictured right) and a mammalian host (2). As the bacteria transitions between those two diverse niches, it alters the expression of its major outer surface proteins (Osps) such that expression of those that…

Determining the Effect of Raw Materials on Manufacturing-Scale Cell-Culture Performance

Large-scale cell culture production processes routinely involve multicomponent cell culture media formulations including both chemically defined raw materials and complex raw materials such as hydrolysates (1). Even minor variations in the compositions of either can lead to variability in protein productivity or product quality. That often persists despite the use of a raw material lot-blending strategy at large scales to “average out” raw material trends. And a raw material lot-blending strategy can makes it more difficult to identify which single…