Upstream Single-Use Technologies

A Biomass Monitor for Disposable Bioreactors

    Of the available on-line biomass assay types, radio-frequency impedance spectroscopy (RFI, often referred to as capacitance) is generally regarded as the most robust and reliable method for monitoring viable biomass during fermentation and cell culture. The first article to show that capacitance could be used to estimate microbial biomass dates back over 20 years (1). Today the technology is routinely used for monitoring and controlling mammalian cell culture processes and high-density yeast and bacterial fermentations in research, process…

The Dinosaurs Reborn: Evaluating Stainless Steel and Disposables in Large-Scale Biomanufacturing

    Although a number of biomanufacturers have adopted disposable technologies for small-scale process design, there has been considerable debate over the role of single-use systems in large-scale biopharmaceutical manufacturing— particularly in retrofitting facilities. Some experts have gone so far as to suggest that large-scale stainless steel fermentors are “dinosaurs,” with their large capacities, long installation lead times, and low flexibility. I advocate a systematic approach to look holistically at possible retrofit technologies in existing (stainless steel) facilities, with particular…

Single-Use Systems As Principal Components in Bioproduction

    Single-use systems (SUS) have become an accepted component of animal-cell–based bioproduction. No longer a merely exciting possibility, they have emerged as a significant and growing resource for companies to use from process development to manufacturing of approved products. Having been examined for years in less regulated environments, off-the-shelf SUS are now in regular use to some extent in nearly every segment of the production train by contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs) and biopharmaceutical companies in mid-scale production applications. For…

Linear Scale-Up of Cell Cultures

    Reusable bioreactors have been the benchmark standard for many decades, during which a large knowledge base on process control and scale-up has been developed. However, single-use bioreactors are increasingly being implemented in modern bioindustrial upstream processes. Many of these bioreactors deviate from the traditional stirred-tank design, but a number of companies have expressed a strong need for single-use bioreactors based on the strirred-tank design. A traditional stirred-tank design would enable users to optimize their scale-up processes based on…

Mixing in Small-Scale Single-Use Systems

    Despite the advantages of presterile, single-use technologies, mixing is one of their most complex applications. Industry has been progressing toward using single-use bag technologies rather than traditional methods of stainless steel tanks and grades A/B processing because of the positive aspects they impart to end users, including a reduced potential for contaminants, cleaning, sterilization, and capital. These technologies offer simplicity and flexibility (1). However, using them for an operation such as mixing can add processing challenges. For example,…

Demonstrated Performance of a Disposable Bioreactor with an Anchorage-Dependent Cell Line

    Increased adoption of disposable storage vessels and mixing systems for biopharmaceutical manufacturing operations has provided economic and efficiency benefits to a number of life-science companies. Single-use technologies have reduced validation requirements, shortened turnaround times, eliminated cleaning regimes, increased the speed of set-up procedures, and facilitated the development of flexible manufacturing platforms. Many biomanufacturers have sought to extend those benefits into the field of cell culture by using disposable bioreactors. Here we describe work undertaken to develop and demonstrate…

Using Disposables in Cell-Culture–Based Vaccine Production

    A recent private grant of US$10 billion for human vaccine applications illustrates the revival of interest in vaccine science (1). The 2009 response by vaccine manufacturers to the H1N1 pandemic revealed the convergence of three technological developments. First is a revolution in technology: Vaccines are being developed for diverse and unprecedented applications through a number of entirely new approaches. Second is the recent adoption of cultured cell-based production for a growing number of vaccines, such as influenza. And…

A Single-Use, Scalable Perfusion Bioreactor System

We have previously described a patented nonsparging, nonbubbling oxygen transfer method (1). This method is based on interaction between the air-exposed smooth surface of a bioreactor vessel and culture medium repeatedly sweeping across it with a certain force, which seems to generate microscopic bubbles among the water molecules (2). We manufactured high–oxygen-transfer Current suspension bioreactors with working volumes of 5 L, 50 L, 150 L, and 300 L. Here we describe the use of these suspension bioreactors as “artificial lungs”…

Production of Recombinant Whole-Cell Vaccines with Disposable Manufacturing Systems

Live whole-cell bacterial products have been used as vaccines for many years, and there are currently three such products licensed on the market. Over recent years, however, interest has renewed in this type of product as a delivery system for novel recombinant therapies and vaccines. A number of different organisms have been proposed, such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella species, which might have applicability for such applications. Vaccine applications tend to relate to the potential for low-cost orally delivered products…

Scaling Up a CHO-Produced Hormone–Protein Fusion Product

    Many biotechnology companies recognize the powerful benefits of increasing product titer early in product development as a strategy to minimize manufacturing costs, scale, and the duration necessary to produce clinical supplies and achieve product commercialization. Additional benefits include minimizing or completely avoiding significant regulatory delays to market that can be caused by major process technology changes (such as cell line and product quality changes). Recently, another significant benefit has been realized too: Smaller, more productive and efficient 2,000-L…