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2009

In an average influenza season, we face hundreds of thousands of influenza cases. Up to 50,000 deaths per year can be ascribed to influenza epidemics. Nevertheless, this is relatively harmless compared to the current, permanent threat of a worldwide pandemic caused by avian influenza.

AVIR Green Hills Biotechnology is developing innovative seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccines based on the deletion of the NS1 gene (ΔNS1 vaccine) [1]. The vaccine is replication-defective and applied intranasally. Currently, an H1N1 monovalent vaccine is being tested in a clinical phase I study and clinical trials with H5N1 avian influenza vaccine will follow in fall 2007.

A production process, which was successfully employed for the pilot-scale production of H1N1 and H5N1 influenza A virus is presented here. The upstream process is performed according to the specific requirements of the respective influenza subtypes. Currently, 15 L batches are produced in cell factories using Vero (African green monkey kidney) cells. The vaccine bulk is purified by using the very same scheme for all different subtypes. For purification, the cell culture supernatant is clarified by centrifugation and the virus is concentrated by tangential ultra filtration. The concentrated virus is subsequently purified in two chromatographic steps which were co-developed with BIA Separations d.o.o.: First, an anion exchange monolithic column is used. This is followed by size exclusion chromatography for polishing and buffer exchange.

This purification scheme guarantees the thorough depletion of host cell DNA and total protein, and recovers at least 25% of the infectious virus.

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2008

During last decades different methods for purification of influenza viruses have been described. Most of these methods were developed for purification of egg derived influenza virus which is still the main production system for influenza vaccine viruses. Since cell culture based technology is gaining more and more importance, the need for alternative, efficient and scaleable purification methods has risen. Chromatography is becoming a method of choice for purification of viruses. Relevance of this technique was recently demonstrated also for influenza viruses. Methacrylate monoliths are characterized by large channel diameter, high surface accessibility and convective mass transport. As a consequence they have high binding capacity for large molecules, enable high flow rates at low pressure drop and therefore increase productivity. Recently it has been proven that methacrylate monolithic columns can also be used for purification and concentration of different viruses.

It was the purpose of this work to explore possibilities for purification of influenza viruses on ion exchange methacrylate monoliths. Different subtypes of influenza A and influenza B virus were tested employing various ion exhange monolithic columns.

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During the last decade important developments in molecular medicine and adenoviral vector design have been achieved, leading to an increased use of adenoviral vectors in clinical gene therapy protocols. One of the main advantages of the adenovirus is their ability to replicate at high titres in permisive cell lines. The availability of large quantities of adenoviral vector preparations is recognized as an important limitation to pre-clinical and clinical studies. Consequently there is a global focus on large scale production of adenoviral vectors, providing high titres combined with fast, effective and reliable purification methods.

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2005

The rapidly growing interest in the area of proteomics induces intensive efforts to find robust, automated and sensitive high-throughput analytical tools. In this context, the concept of solid-phase digestion (ex. trypsin immobilization on a solid support[1]) has received great attention in the last years. Trypsin (EC 3.4.21.4) has been covalently immobilized on different monolithic supports and resulting bioreactors used as immobilized enzyme reactors (IMERs) for on-line digestion, peptide separation and peptide mapping. Bioreactors efficiencies were evaluated with different recombinant proteins after on-line digestion. The technique used for the separation and identification of peptides was high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with electrospray ionisation tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS).

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Viruses have proven to be useful vectors for gene therapy purposes. As therapeutics for human use they must be pure and contaminant free. Traditionally, viruses are purified by complicated and time consuming methods such as CsCl density gradient centrifugation or similar. In recent years liquid chromatography has became interesting method for virus purification. It provides high level of purity required for human use and increases productivity. Traditional chromatographic supports were mostly designed for purification of proteins and as such are commonly inappropriate for viruses. Alternative to traditional chromatographic support are methacrylate monoliths (CIM monoliths), characterized by large channel diameter, high surface accessibility and convective mass transport.

The aim of this work was to characterize CIM supports for separation and possible purification of a model virus Tomato mosaic virus (ToMV) from crude plant material.

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2004

Traditionally, viruses are purified by time consuming methods such as CsCl density gradient centrifugation or similar. These methods are often inefficient and limited to small scale. In recent years different methods for virus purification, based on ion exchange, gel filtration and affinity chromatography have became popular. Recently, CIM® disk monolithic columns were used for successful concentration of two plant viruses (1) and for improved detection of two human viruses (2). Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) and Tomato mosaic virus (ToMV) were concentrated and subsequently detected from extremely diluted samples in which they were initially undetectable. Successful concentrations of both viruses encourage us to explore the possibilities of CIM® supports for virus purification. As a model virus ToMV was selected. ToMV is a rod shaped plant virus with a typical size of 300 x 18 nm and isoelectric point at pH 4.6.

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2003

The only four drugs approved for the clinical treatment of Alzheirner’s Disease (tacrine. rivastigmine, donepezil and galantamine) are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors which act by maintaining high levels of acetylcholine at the muscarinic and nicotinic receptors in the central nervous system. Human acetylcholinesterase (HuAChE) represents a widely studied target enzyme and it is still object of research for the development of new drugs as enzyme inhibitors.

In a previous paper we reported the immobilisation of AChE on a silica based chromatographic column (50 x 4.6 mm 1.0.) The yeld of immobilization and the stability of the AChE-IMER were considered satisfactory, but some problems arose. The length of the IMER and the large amount of enzyme covalently bound to the chromatographic support resulted in catalysis product long elution times and some inhibitors aspecific matrix absorption with delayed enzyme activity recovery. In order to avoid these complications and considering the high rate of AChE enzymatic reaction. we decided to reduce the dimension of the solid support for immobilization, hence the amount of immobilized enzyme, by selecting a monolithic matrix disk (12 x 3 mm I.D.).

CIM® (Convective Interaction Media) monolithic supports (Biaseparations. Lubiana) represent a novel generation of stationary phases used for liquid chromatography, bioconversions, and solid phase synthesis. As opposed to individual particles packed into chromatographic columns, CIM® supports are cast as continuous homogeneous phases and provide high rates of mass transfer at lower back pressure.

In the present work a CIMK disk with immobilised human recombinant acetylcholinesterase (HuAChE-ClM® Disk) was developed. The activity of immohilised enzyme, the long term stability and reproducibility were tested. HuAChE-CIM® disk was applied as an immobilised enzyme micro-reactor (micro-IMER) in on-line HPLC system for inhibitory potency determination of known AChE inhibitors.

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Gene therapy which is becoming more and more important in human health care requires the purification of high molecular mass compounds, so called nanoparticles (e. g. viruses and plasmids). The method of choice to ensure proper purity would be chromatography.

Most of the chromatographic supports available on the market at the moment can not follow the requests for such work due to low binding capacity for large molecules, limitation with regards to the time of the separation process and requests for CIP (cleaning in place) and SIP (sanitation in place).

Monolithic supports represent a new generation of chromatographic supports. In contrast to conventional particle supports, where the void volume between individual porous particles is unavoidable, these supports consist of a single monolith highly interconnected with larger and smaller open flow-through channels. Due to the structure, molecules to be separated are transported to the active sites on the stationary phase by convection, resulting in very short separation times. This is especially true for large molecules.

In this work we will present the use of monolithic supports for the separation of different nanoparticles on analytical and preparative scales. It will be shown that monolithic supports can overcome the limitations of particle-based supports for the analytics and isolation of big molecules and represent a major step towards the safe and efficient purification or production of nanoparticles.

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1999

High performance membrane chromatography (HPMC) proved to be a very efficient method for fast protein separations. Recently, it was shown to be applicable also for the isocratic separation of plasmid DNAconformations. However, no study about the separation of small molecules was performed until now. In this work, we investigated the possibility of gradient and isocratic separations of small molecules with Convective Interaction Media (CIM) disks of different chemistries. We proved that it was possible to achieve efficient separations of oligonucleotides and peptides in the ion-exchange mode as well as the separation of small hydrophobic molecules in the reversed phase mode. Fairly good separation of four oligonucleotides could be achieved on the disk of 0.3 mm thickness. The effect of the gradient parameters on the resolution in the case of gradient mode was studied and compared with the separation under isocratic conditions.

It was shown that similar peak resolution can be achieved in both gradient and isocratic modes. In addition, it was found that the flow rate does not have a pronounced influence on the resolution in the flow rate range between 1 and 10 mL/min. However, it seems that the resolution with the flow rate even slightly increases as a consequence of the increased pore accessibility. In accordance with conventional particle HPLC columns, the resolution increases with the monolith thickness. On the other hand, the mobile phase composition has to be carefully adjusted to obtain optimal resolution, especially in the case of isocratic separations. Because of this feature, CIM monoliths seem to be competitive to other, commercially available stationary phases.

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Organic acids are important metabolites of several biochemical pathways in microorganisms and as such they are frequent main or by-products in different bioprocesses. Consequently, a demand for their monitoring is often present. One of the most applied methods for organic acids determination is certainly HPLC using different separation mechanisms such as reversed-phase, ion-exchange or ion-exclusion chromatography, all based on separation under isocratic flow conditions. To achieve the isocratic separation, multiple steps of adsorption-desorption process are needed and therefore conventional chromatographic columns with long layer of separation material were considered as a necessary tool for achieving this effect.

Recently, it was shown that isocratic separation could also be performed on thin monolithic layers. The isocratic separations of plasmid DNA conformers (1), oligonucleotides (2, 3) and peptides (3) in the ion-exchange mode were demonstrated as well as isocratic reversed-phase separation of a mixture of steroids was obtained (3) all on thin GMA-EDMA monoliths commercially available under trademark CIM™ (Convective Interaction Media). The results indicated the possibility of applying CIM™ monolithic columns also for isocratic separation of some other small charged molecules. Since the average analysis time using CIM™ disk monolithic columns is up to a few minutes, these supports can be a material of choice for separation of organic acids.

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