ambr alert: Sartorius vessel specialized for cell & gene therapies

Sartorius has launched an ambr 250 vessel for cell and gene therapy applications it says taps into industry’s transition from adherent to suspension cell culture formats.

Sartorius Stedim Biotech (SSB) has added to its range of ambr 250 modular benchtop bioreactor systems with a single-use vessel designed to accelerate the process development of cell and gene therapy applications, before scaling-up into single-use bioreactors and bags.

Existing ambr mammalian vessels are often used for process development of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) in cell lines such as CHO. Ian Ransome, head of Product Management, ambr multiparallel systems at SSB, said while these vessels have been used for development work on cell lines involved in cell and gene therapies, biomanufacturers are now requiring more specialized equipment.

Image c/o Sartorius

“As cell and gene therapies evolve and more clones and processes are created, different challenges are emerging, and the new vessels with the single impeller and no baffles offer a different environment for the culture of cells,” he told Bioprocess Insider.

“This new vessel broadens the ambr 250 portfolio, offering a novel culture format to teams developing processes such as adherent cell growth on microcarriers, T cell culture and process development of viral vector production.”

The difference between the new and existing vessels focus on two areas. The first is a single larger diameter impeller implemented in the new vessel, compared with a twin pitched blade impeller in the existing vessel. The second is that the baffles in the existing mammalian vessel are not implemented in the new vessel.

Scale up, not out

The ambr system plays into industry’s demands to move away from adherent cell culture – monolayers on an artificial substrate – to suspension formats, i.e. free-floating in the culture medium.

“As the cell and gene therapy space develops, and clinical demand rises, the need to scale up rather than scale out particular process nodes will increase,” Ransome said.

“In this context, applications such as viral vector production are increasingly shifting from adherent cell culture formats to the suspension format, which is very well catered for by scalable upstream production systems such as Biostat STR. Development tools such as ambr are playing their part in this transition, allowing teams to swiftly identify optimum conditions for suspension culture and adherent cultivation on microcarriers.”

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