Upstream Processing

Improving CHO Cells for Biomanufacturing

Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells have been used in biomanufacturing for decades because of their robust capacity to express a range of proteins, such as therapeutic enzymes and monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) at titers measured in multiple grams per liter of culture. Within the available suite of CHO cell lines, the glutamine synthetase knockout (GS-KO) selection system provides industry-leading speed to the identification of high-producing clones for use in biomanufacturing. The GS-KO selection system allows for identification of multiple-gram/L clones in…

Cell Culture Bioprocessing in Perfusion: Assessing Cell Retention Technologies

Upstream bioprocessing in perfusion mode holds great promise for industrial production of cells and biologics. In perfusion, fresh medium is added constantly to the bioreactor, and used medium is harvested while the cells are retained in the bioreactor. As a result, the composition of the cell culture medium stays quite constant during the process. This offers several advantages. In perfusion, higher cell densities can be reached than in batch and fed-batch processes, therefore enhancing volumetric productivity. Because medium composition can…

Scientific and Technological Advancements in Applications of Single-Use Technology: A Conference Report

Single-use technology (SUT) has been used increasingly both in clinical and commercial biomanufacturing (1). Proven major advantages include relatively low capital investment, elimination of batch-to-batch cross contamination and reuse cleaning validation efforts, flexibility in manufacturing, and shortened product lifecycles. However, some challenges and barriers to implementation remain: Consumables costs are increasing. Specific regulatory guidance is lacking, as is component interchangeability and standardization. And few if any leak-proof components/systems are available. International groups and associations focused on setting best practices and…

Monoclonal Antibodies: Beyond the Platform in Manufacturing

The vast majority of monoclonal antibody (MAb) production processes are based on fed-batch Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell culture and protein A affinity column chromatography capture. Increasing cost-consciousness — among innovator companies as well as biosimilar makers — has many companies looking “beyond the platform” for less expensive alternatives that may provide better results. Here the BPI editors review some state-of-the-art alternatives in upstream and downstream MAb drug substance bioprocessing as well as drug-product manufacturing. The current “gold standard” platform…

A Brief History of Adherent Cell Culture: Where We Come From and Where We Should Go

In the past 20 years, novel therapeutics have become a major segment of biopharmaceutical research and development, particularly for immune disorders and cancer. Progress in gene therapies could bring cures for once deadly and debilitating genetic disorders such as hemophilia or muscular dystrophy. Biologic drug products offer potential treatments that have not been possible with traditional (chemistry-based) approaches. But such products also are more difficult to produce cost effectively at an industrial scale because of the intricacies associated with biological…

Biopharmaceutical Characterization,
Part 1: Biological Assays —
A Conference Report

In late October 2018, KNect365 brought together more than 250 analytical specialists to discuss characterization of well-characterized biologics in Rockville, MD. Speakers from the US Food and Drug Administration joined experts from leading biopharmaceutical companies, service providers, and consultancies, including BPI editorial advisor Nadine Ritter (president and analytical advisor of Global Biotech Experts). She began the final day moderating a special town-hall session where audience members could pose their regulatory questions to a panel of FDA reviewers, and she ended…

The Need for Adherent Cell Manufacturing: Production Platform and Media Strategies Drive Cell Production Economics

Most commercial biopharmaceuticals originated from academic research laboratories and start-up development laboratories. Despite such products having differences in modalities and targeted disease indications, and whether their target patient populations are relatively small or approaching blockbuster status, at a key point in development, biopharmaceutical production must scale up from laboratory to commercial production. That movement from research to development and then to manufacturing forces attention on economics and speed to market, and it drives innovative approaches to producing biopharmaceutical cell compositions…

Cell Culture Scale-Up in Stirred-Tank Single-Use Bioreactors

Bioprocess development usually is carried out in systems with small working volumes. This helps save time and resources because, at small scale, several experiments can be conducted in parallel. Costs for media are kept low, and relatively little laboratory space is required to operate small-scale bioreactors. But over the course of development, biopharmaceutical companies need more material for characterization, trial runs, and finally for commercialization. They transition to bench scale and then up to pilot or production scale with the…

Inactivation of Enveloped Viruses: Seeking Alternatives to a Problematic Surfactant

Triton X-100 detergent makes an interesting case study in bioprocess sustainability strategy. Also known as octylphenol ethoxylate (OPE), this nonionic surfactant has many uses in biopharmaceutical research and development. Among other laboratory applications, it is used to lyse cells and DNA in research, to solubilize membrane proteins and decellularize animal-derived tissues, to reduce the surface tension of aqueous solutions during immunostaining, and to remove sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) from polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) gels for analysis. It also serves as…

A Novel 3D Culture System for High-Throughput Hepatoxicity Screening

Cells grown as three-dimensional (3D) spheroids are thought to more closely mimic in vivo physiology in terms of morphology, structural complexity, and phenotype. Being more physiologically relevant, 3D cultures can be highly predictive for compound profiling and evaluating cytotoxicity, a critical step in evaluating chemotherapeutic drug candidates. Unfortunately, evaluation of drug cytotoxicity traditionally has relied on the use of two-dimensional (2D) cell culture monolayers. When grown in monolayers, cells are not exposed to soluble gradients, are forced into an apical-basal…