Upstream Processing

Bioreactor Design for Adherent Cell Culture — The Bolt-On Bioreactor Project, Part 3: Containment, Sterility

The Bolt-on Bioreactor (BoB) project is an independent initiative aimed at developing and commercializing a bioreactor for the automated and efficient culture of adherent cells, especially for application in the production of therapeutic cells and other biopharmaceuticals (1). After conducting thorough research on available culture systems for adherent cells, the BoB team believes that a successful alternative to existing devices must answer four major challenges. Addressed in the first article of this series (2), the first challenge has to do…

Bioreactor Design for Adherent Cell Culture: The Bolt-On Bioreactor Project, Part 2 — Process Automation

  The Bolt-on Bioreactor (BoB) project is an independent initiative to develop and commercialize a bioreactor for automated and efficient culture of adherent cells, especially in production of therapeutic cells and other biopharmaceuticals (1). After conducting thorough research on available culture systems for adherent cells, the BoB team believes that a successful alternative to existing devices must solve four major challenges. Addressed in the first installment of this series (2), the first challenge concerns volumetric productivity. The second challenge is…

Single-Use Processing for Microbial Fermentations

During the past decade, single‑use bioprocessing has emerged as a standard platform for current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) mammalian cell culture. Biomanufacturers have come to appreciate the benefits of lower capital and operating costs, reduced contamination risk, continuity from early development through manufacturing, flexibility, and sustainability (1). Disposable cell‑culture vessels have gained wide acceptance because their performance duplicates that of stainless‑steel, fixed‑tank bioreactors, with which manufacturers have extensive experience. This is no accident: Single‑use bioreactors use stainless–steel engineering principles, particularly…

Culture Media and Protein Expression From Conversations with William G. Whitford

As part of BPI’s “Ask the Expert” series, editorial advisor William G. Whitford (senior technical market manager for GE Healthcare Life Sciences) spoke with editor-in-chief Anne Montgomery and marketing and digital content strategist Leah Rosin on two separate occasions about issues related to culture media and expression titers. Sourcing Serum-Free Media Anne discussed cell culture media and process fluids with Bill in March 2014. Whitford: Things are advancing, and the industry is changing significantly. In general, we are using more…

A Novel Seed-Train Process: Using High-Density Cell Banking, a Disposable Bioreactor, and Perfusion Technologies

A typical cell culture process begins with thawing of a cryopreserved cell-bank vial, followed by successive expansions into larger culture vessels such as shake flasks, spinners, Wave bags, and stirred bioreactors (1). When culture volume and cell density meet predetermined criteria, the culture is transferred to a production bioreactor in which cells continue to grow and express product. This approach presents several challenges. Shake flasks or spinners used in the initial stages require manual manipulations inside a laminar flow hood,…

Culturing a Duck ES-Derived Cell Line in Single-Use Bioreactors: A Rapid, Efficient, and Cost-Effective Vaccine Manufacturing System Based on Suspension Culture

Cell substrates managed in controlled culture environments have become, over the past few decades, the subject of intensive technological developments for the biomanufacturing of viral vaccines. The driving force of such work is an expanding demand for safety, high production capacities, cost savings, and flexibility. Egg, tissue, and primary-cell–based manufacturing methods of limited capacity are now considered to be outdated technologies. In the influenza vaccine field, for example, time delays in vaccine delivery (especially during pandemic responses) have increased concerns…

Measuring Pressure at Very Low Levels with High Accuracy in Single-Use Systems: Improved Performance and Single-Use System Testing

Measuring pressure in single-use systems (SUS) has become an integral part of both upstream and downstream bioprocess operations. Articles have been published on filtration applications (1), and integration into other SUS has been widely adopted. Additionally, information is available on low-pressure applications such as how to prevent overpressurization in single-use bioreactors (2). However, as users and applications both become more sophisticated, improved performance is sought for low-pressure applications (<1 psi) such as in single-use bioreactors. The reasons are two-fold: First,…

A Quick Guide for Sourcing Biopharmaceutical Raw Materials

Before the ratification of regulatory guidelines from The International Conference on Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH) Q8–Q11 (1–4) — whose scope includes raw materials for biopharmaceutical production — many drug manufacturers chose the most cost-effective and readily available raw materials sourcing options without specifically considering the provenance of those materials. Depending on the chosen supply chain, such materials could be of widely varying quality and not necessarily suitable for a destined application. Raw-material…

30 Years of Upstream Productivity Improvements

We recently completed an analysis of the past 30 years of industry progress in commercial-scale expression titers and bioprocessing yields. These basic measures of biopharmaceutical manufacturing efficiency also benchmark the technological progress made in bioprocessing over recent decades. Titer and yield improvements generally indicate related bioprocessing cost savings, something most commercial-scale manufacturers work to improve. This focus on efficiency and productivity has led to constant bioprocessing improvements even for long-approved and -marketed products. Our findings indicate that although upstream titers…

Perfusion’s Role in Maintenance of High-Density T-Cell Cultures

T-cell therapy is a rapidly growing field of personalized medicine, attracting the interest of venture capitalists and pharmaceutical companies alike. Such therapies exploit T cells’ innate abilities to protect against pathogens as well as to seek and destroy cancerous cells. Although many different forms of T-cell therapies are currently in clinical trials, they all follow a common protocol: T cells are isolated from a patient, modified and expanded in a laboratory setting, and then infused back into the same patient…