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2012

In the last few years pharmacology has made a big step towards the new type of drugs, called biological drugs. Popularity and market for biological drugs grew exponentially, so did the need for fast and inexpensive purification. Classic liquid chromatography columns were unable to separate biological compounds in industrial quantities, therefore the scientists were looking for alternatives. One of them are monolithic materials. Monolithic materials, especially methacrylate monoliths, are becoming more and more popular in separation processes due to their fast separations, low pressure drop and mechanical stability.

In the context of preparing new columns and improving existing ones, we need to know every single chemical as well as mechanical property of our monolithic material. Here we present some key data and interesting correlations between mechanical and structural properties of GMA-co-EDMA porous monolith. In the first paragraph we compare nonmodified and DEAE modified monoliths with different average pore size and porosity, regarding to their compression and tension properties. The second paragraph deals with the impact of these parameters on the permeability of the column during separation.

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Commonly, epoxide-based monoliths used as porous supports in affinity chromatography are synthesized from glycidyl methacrylate (GMA) and ethylene glycol dimethacrylate (EDMA) by free radical polymerization.

We prepared an epoxide-based monolith by self polymerization of polyglycidyl ethers where the epoxy groups serve as functional groups for the polymerization reaction as well as for the immobilization of the ligand.

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Monolith technology has been employed in chromatography for a variety of applications using diverse substrates. The development of different column chemistries has led to the Thermo Scientific ProSwift line of monolith columns for analytical protein separation by ion exchange and reversed phase. Separation of biomolecules can be achieved at elevated linear velocities with minimal loss of resolution. Columns are designed to withstand extreme pH cleaning, desired for sterilization. The backbone and functionalization are optimized for high mass loading for small-scale preparative applications, the ideal first dimension separation of crude biological samples. Combined with increased sensitivity of a 1 mm format, detection of proteins of very low copy number in a crude samples is achievable.

We discuss here the ability to produce highly-reproducible columns with excellent stability as well as characteristics required for fast small-scale preparative analysis. HPLC column selection is a challenging task, specifically where the mixture contents is somewhat unknown. Many factors influence the choice of column used; chemistry, robustness, and reproducibility. For quality assurance, columns should be chosen that are reproducible both run to run and batch to batch. To prevent cross-contamination between samples, carryover and sterilization should be considered. For semi-prep, a combination of high mass loading and good resolution enable increased purity of peak fractions. Format and operational flow rate should be considered with respect to multidimensional analysis.

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2010

Application of plasmid DNA for gene therapy and vaccination has gained huge interest in last two decades. Topological homogeneity and impurity content are crucial for therapeutic usage of pDNA. Major influence on achieving regulatory demands in pDNA production has downstream processing and in order to get optimal purity different purification techniques have to be included. It was demonstrated that methacrylate monoliths can be used for efficient purification process of plasmid DNA. High dynamic binding capacities and high flow rates of methacrylate monolith enabled excelent purity and productivity.

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Analysis of a large number of samples requires chromatographic support that not only enables fast separation and purification of a target biomolecule from a complex matrix but also support an automation of a process. The methacrylate 96-well monolithic plate format enables both. 96-well monolithic plate reduces experimental time because it allows fast and efficient evaluation of parameters for binding and elution conditions. This format is a quicker alternative to several consecutive tests on chromatographic column.

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In recent decades much work has been done on the development and optimisation of chromatographic supports in order to achieve efficient purification of biomolecules.

In the presented study we have investigated hydrodynamic and chromatographic properties of weak anion-exchange grafted monoliths (DEAE). Varying the concentration of the grafted polymer, grafted monoliths with different layer thickness and degree of branching were obtained. This results in a different hydrodynamic and chromatographic behavior of the examined monoliths such as permeability, ionic capacity and dynamic binding capacity (DBC) for the BSA protein. The DBC increases with the grafted layer thickness probably due to higher number of binding sites available for binding of the macromolecules. However, longer chains contribute to the reduction of the pore volume which results in a higher pressure drop. The latter can be additionally increased when biomolecules of interest are bound to the matrix. From this data information about the penetration depth into the grafted layer can be obtained giving an insight into the binding mechanism. Since the flow-unaffected properties were preserved even for large biomolecules, grafted monoliths may become a resin of choice for downstream processing of various macromolecules.

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CIMac™ Analytical Columns are high-performance monolithic columns offering all the advantages of a special continuous short polymeric bed and are primarily intended for fast, efficient and reproducible separations of biomolecules like large proteins – antibodies (IgG, IgM), plasmid DNA, phages and viral particles. Their small volume and short column length allow the operation at high volumetric flow rates (from 1 to 30 column volumes/min) thus enabling receiving the information about the product quantity and purity in just a few minutes. These columns are pre-packed in dedicated stainless steel housings and allow user friendly connections to HPLC equipment. The product family offers strong cation exchange, strong and weak anion exchange and specialty analytical column for plasmid DNA. All columns can be effectively used for the in-process and final control of various samples from different purification process steps.

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The biotechnological production of recombinants proteins consists of two main processes, upstream (biosynthesis) and downstream (protein purification) process. During the last decades the upstream process for mammalian cell culture has been improved significantly yielding in high amounts of protein. This development however led to a new challenge : the downstream process became a bottle-neck because of the large amounts of protein per batch in combination with the protein specific behaviors at high concentration.

In protein purification preparative chromatography is synonymous to “column chromatography”, and the favorable statics of a column are out of question for the physical requirements of beaded matrices. However, when approaching larger scales the physical dimensions of chromatography columns turn unfavorable: shallow gel beds of wide diameters. The footprint of such device increases drastically as does the weight, consequently resulting in limitations regarding floor space and floor bearing force.

A suitable chromatographic base matrix that is not obliged to a distinctive column design is a single piece of polymer – a monolith. Leaving the conventional column design, we have constructed a device for a monolith of rectangular shape, with the size of the monolith only limited by total weight (e.g. for handling and / or transportation). Using this design in a modular way, the individual modules can be stacked to make use of the height of a room at a very low footprint. A specific distribution system for feeding the monolith modules has been designed to allow a true linear scale-up from laboratory to large technical scale.

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2009

Application of plasmid DNA for gene therapy and vaccination has gained substantial interest in the last two decades. Topological homogeneity and impurity content are crucial for therapeutic usage of pDNA. Downstream processing has major influence on achieving regulatory demands in pDNA production and in order to get optimal purity different purification techniques have to be applied. It was demonstrated that methacrylate monoliths can be used for efficient purification process of plasmid DNA. High dynamic binding capacities and high flow rates of methacrylate monolith enable excellent purity and productivity.

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Bacteriophages were in recent years identified as a useful potential tool for different biotechnological applications such as alternative to antibiotics, detection of pathogenic bacteria, delivery vehicles for protein and DNA vaccines and as gene therapy delivery vehicles (1). For all listed fields of use it is important that phages are highly purified with preserved biological activity. Phage and other virus purification have traditionally been carried out by CsCl density gradient ultracentrifugation, which is however difficult to be scaled-up. An alternative is chromatography already proved to be efficient for purification and concentration of certain virus types.

One of the key issues using chromatography is processing time and capacity of the resin. Novel type of chromatographic resin named monoliths was already proved to be very efficient for fast separation and purification of macromolecules as are large proteins, DNA and viruses (2,3,4).

Our aim was to investigate whether Convective Interaction Media (CIM) methacrylate monolithic columns can be implemented for purification and concentration of phage T4 (virus for E.coli). Chromatographic method using linear gradient was implemented to investigate conditions for phage elution and to establish the optimized chromatographic method applying step gradient. We analyzed phage recovery and purity together with method reproducibility.

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2008

Anion-exchange chromatography is fundamental in downstream processing of plasmids both as a process and analytical technique. CIM anion-exchange monolithic columns have already been successfully used for the industrial scale purification of pharmaceutical grade small plasmid DNA [1].

In this work we report about the use of the newly developed monolithic analytical column intended for plasmid DNA determination in terms of its analytical performance. Higher degree of sensitivity, precision and accuracy is necessary in order to determine the quality of clinical grade DNA intended for therapeutic use. Plasmids purified from Escherichia coli fermentation exist predominantly in the supercoiled form (SC) the other two topoisomers present in the final product are mostly the open circular (OC) and linear forms [2]. Different chromatographic conditions were tested and the separation was optimized in terms of buffer and pH selection as well as in terms of gradient slope and column length. The results were compared to the results obtained with established analytical methods.

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2007

Membrane based anion exchangers are being used increasingly for purification of monoclonal antibodies. The transition from particle-based anion exchangers is driven partly by the convenience of membranes and partly by the cost saving associated with their disposability, however the feature that makes them functionally superior is more effective mass transport.

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2006

Gene therapy has already shown some great results in treatment and cure of some monogene diseases, such as diabetes. While the use of genetically modified viruses raises safety concerns, synthetic formulations of genes inserted in plasmids are regarded as safer. At present, most clinical trials involve plasmids smaller than 10 kb. However, the concern that regulation of the functioning of the gene is ensured together with the expectation of the progression of gene therapy to multigene disfunctions, like cancer or complex nevrodegenerative disfunctions (Alzheimer disease), will require the production of larger plasmids [1].

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Commercially available CIM® disk monolithic columns are intended for very fast analyzes and laboratory purification. Their shape is a compromise to achieve acceptable resolution and binding capacity what make them suitable for wide range of laboratory applications. Separations of complex protein mixtures can be carried out within just a few seconds because of flow unaffected resolution and, on the other hand, purification can be effectuated with high productivity due to flow-unaffected dynamic binding capacity [1]. However, in many cases in the field of molecular biology, only a limited amount of sample is available. In such a case it is beneficial to work with small columns having high resolution or they can be used as affinity columns or bioreactors saving significant amount of valuable ligand. Having this goal in mind we developed CIM® disks with the volume of 1/10th and 1/100th of original volume. In comparison to conventional CIM® disks, they exhibit higher resolution and lower limit of detection, therefore smaller concentrations of target macromolecules can be detected. The separation ability and the protein capacity were tested on anion and cation exchange 3.4 mL and 34m L mini disk monolithic columns.

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Analysis of a large numbers of samples requires chromatographic supports that not only enable fast separation and purification of a target biomolecules from a complex matrix but are also involved in an automation process. The 96 – microtiter plate format enables both. Although they are routinely used for decade's only recently few reports about the microtiter plates bearing monoliths as a separation media, were reported [1]. Because of advantageous properties such as flow unaffected dynamic binding capacity and resolution 96 - microtiter plates with methacrylate based monolith were prepared. Characterisation of such plate demonstrated that uniform flow rate can be achieved through all wells and no leakage is present. Efficient separation of proteins was achieved within minute. Furthermore CLC (Conjoined Liquid Chromatography) concept [2] originally derived for analytical columns on CIM disk, can easily be extrapolated to microtiter plates. We demonstrated that multidimensional chromatography with 96 – well plate is feasible and can further accelerate screening processes.

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2005

The analysis of molecular interactions is a key part of the drug discovery process, and analytical techniques are available for studying in vitro the ligand/target complex since the early stage of the drug development process.

With regard to the assessment of the activity of chemical libraries, the affinity chromatography on HPLC immobilized-enzyme column (or immobilized enzyme reactors, IMER) is one of most promising methodologies for HTS applications.

Human recombinant acetylcholinesterase (hAChE) represents a well-known target for drug-discovery in Alzheimer’s Disease.

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Plasmids are excellent genetic vectors and have been widely used in gene manipulation and recombinant DNA technology for a long time. In recent years, plasmids are intensively investigated for gene therapy purposes and genetic vaccination. In this case, plasmid DNA (pDNA) of high purity is required. To follow such demands, several chromatographic steps are commonly needed. In the case of buffer compatibility, columns can be connected in-line to overcome time consuming and yield lowering multiple chromatographic steps. Since each of the unit operations contributes to the dispersion, the resolution is further decreased by each chromatographic step. This drawback might be surmounted by combining several chromatography steps into a single chromatography column. This approach is known as multidimensional or conjoint liquid chromatography (CLC).

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Affinity chromatography is a key method for protein purification. Its main advantage is in the high specificity which enables purification of a single protein from complex biological mixtures. For practical use the specific ligand should be immobilised on insoluble matrix. As a matrix, standard chromatographic supports are commonly used. They are normally in form of small (some m in diameter) particles containing pores to provide high specific surface resulting in high binding capacity. The pores are normally closed on one side, thus the liquid inside them is stagnant and the molecules are transported to the active site by diffusion. Since the diffusion coefficients for macromolecules, such as proteins, are very low, diffusion determines the overall process dynamics. As a consequence, separation or purification of the proteins takes normally 0.5 to 1h even on analytical scale.

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2004

By using a combination of two CIM® tube monolithic columns, OH and DEAE chemistry, we were able to successfully purify plasmid DNA from bacterial culture without using RNase. Purified plasmid DNA is very pure, since common contaminants, such as proteins, genomic DNA, endotoxins and RNA were under the detection limit. The scale up units produced according to cGMP standard are already used for the purification of plasmid DNA for gene therapy purposes on industrial scale.

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Tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) is serine protease which converts plasminogen into plas-min dissolving the major component of blood clots, fibrin. So, it can be extremely useful in clinical practice to help curing of heart attack victims. The most available way protein producing is genetic engineering where separation and purification of goal protein are one of the important steps in protein producing process.

Recently developed High performance monolithic disk chromatography, HPMDC, seems to be a very attractive way for study quantitative affinity parameters of recombinant proteins with different ligands as well as for protein separations and purifications. High process speed prevents the denatura-tion due to temperature and solvents influence. The better mass transfer mechanism (convection rather than diffusion) allows to consider only the biospecific reaction as time limiting.

It is known that plasminogen, which is the natural substratum for t-PA, can be successfully used as affinity ligand to separate t-PA from cellular media. However, the use of synthetic ligands for affinity chromatography is more preferable due to their higher stability and lower total cost.

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