Upstream Processing

Spontaneous Infection: Did You Leave the Back Door Open to Your Cultivation Suite?

Manufacture of biopharmaceuticals using mammalian cells inherently incurs a risk of viral contamination during cell cultivation. If introduced, viruses can infect and replicate in cells used to produce a therapeutic protein or vaccine. The consequences of such contaminations can be dramatic. Not only can a company lose contaminated batches, but it also faces potentially extensive root-cause investigations, facility cleanup efforts, and introduction of preventive measures. Until contamination issues are resolved adequately, production should not be resumed, and facility downtime brings…

Strategizing Scale-Up and Scale-Out for Cell Therapy Production

When considering strategies for expanding the number of cells being grown to support cell therapy development, companies often focus on decisions regarding scale-up and scale-out: increasing capacity either by using larger vessels to increase production volume or by implementing more units of the same vessel, respectively. Complete workflows often involve both. Figure 1 shows an example of scaling out from one to multiple cell culture flasks of the same dimension before transitioning to a larger format. Scale-out can be straightforward…

Ask the Expert: Facilitating Process Development Using a Microfluidic Perfusion Bioreactor

Suitable scale-down perfusion systems generally have been unavailable for process development (PD) activities. Some commercially available systems require daily media exchanges. No such system performs in a way that accurately represents large-scale perfusion, and none maintains sufficiently high cell densities. Kevin Lee (cofounder of Erbi Biosystems) joined BPI on 4 May 2021 to explain how his company’s Breez bioreactor system integrates all the functions of a stirred-tank reactor (STR) into a compact format that can facilitate PD, enabling one person…

Measuring Cell Density in HyPerforma S.U.B.s with ABER Futura neotf
Single-Use Sensors

Monitoring critical process parameters (CPPs) and key performance indicators in bioreactor control systems is crucial to ensure proper cell growth and protein production. Today, most of the major biopharmaceutical companies employ capacitance measurement, in R&D and through process development to manufacturing. Owing to the increased use of single-use bioreactors and building on Aber’s experience with single-use capacitance sensors, the latest Futura neotf single-use capacitance sensors have been specifically developed for integration into Thermo Fisher Scientific bioprocess containers (BPCs) for use…

Avenues for Innovation: The Latest in Cell-Line Engineering and Development

Plato wrote in ancient Greece that “our need will be the real creator,” which transformed over time into the English proverb, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Advancements in medicine and biomanufacturing technology in 2020 have epitomized that idea. Even as technologies such as mRNA vaccines have rocketed into the public’s awareness, biomanufacturing experts have worked behind the scenes with renewed vigor spurred on by hard lessons from the pandemic. Cell-line development and engineering are no exception. Already undergoing a…

Increasing Expression Titers: New Technologies Could Help Other Cell Lines Catch Up to CHO

Fang Tian is a lead scientist and head of cell biology research and development at the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) in Manassas, VA. She is a member of both the International Cell Line Authentication Committee (ICLAC) and the US technical advisory group for the ISO/TC276 technical committee. At ATCC, she oversees preparation, authentication, characterization, quality control, and cryopreservation of more than 3,400 accessioned animal cell lines and hybridomas in the cell biology general collection. She holds a PhD in…

Engineering Alternatives: Modern Technology Enables Expression System Developers to Think Beyond CHO Cells

Major biopharmaceutical companies are teaming up with academics and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop new biomanufacturing cell lines and methods. The project — known as the AltHost Consortium — is exploring innovative ways to produce biologics and vaccines for clinical usage in diseases from diabetes to cancer. Lead researcher J. Christopher Love at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) likens this precompetitive, open-access collaboration to the early days of the biopharmaceutical industry. “When biomanufacturing first emerged as…

Cell-Free Expression: A Technology with Truly Disruptive Potential

Bioprocess engineer Beatrice Melinek is a postdoctoral research fellow at University College London’s Future Targeted Healthcare Manufacturing (FTHM) Hub, where she focuses on the use of cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) as a platform for distributed production of stratified biotherapeutics. Previously Melinek specialized in purification of viral vectors and vaccines, with an engineering doctorate (EngD) in biochemical engineering and postdoctoral experience in UCL’s hematology department developing a new chromatography-based analytical method for measuring empty and full adenoassociated virus (AAV) capsids. She…

Technologies and Innovations: A Discussion with Selexis SA

Pierre-Alain Girod is chief scientific officer (CSO) for Selexis SA. He holds a PhD in plant biochemistry from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI, on the degradation of proteins by the ubiquitin pathway. Girod returned to Switzerland in 1993, where he discovered a family of sequences that are involved in the epigenetic regulation of genes. That discovery subsequently has been used to express therapeutic proteins in the…

Rapid Development of Viral Vector Production Processes: Iterative Parameter Optimization

With recent developments and successes in cell and gene therapy, the biopharmaceutical industry is facing increased demand for safe and efficient delivery systems (1). Viral vectors, including adenoviruses (AV), adenoassociated viruses (AAV), and lentiviruses (LV), are among the most common delivery agents because they infect mammalian cells efficiently. Suspension cultures have become a popular choice for robust and scalable viral manufacturing systems. Using stable cell lines that integrate all or part of the viral production elements adds further benefits by…