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2022

Affinity-based chromatographic isolation of mRNA is robust and simple, lending itself as a useful industrial platform. mRNA constructs typically contain a 3’ polyA tail to increase stability in vivo, thereby affording the possibility of affinity purification using oligo-deoxythymidinic acid (Oligo dT) probes covalently coupled to a solid support. Poly-adenylated mRNA forms a stable hybrid with Oligo dT under high-salt conditions which is destabilized when the salt is removed, allowing mRNA to be released. Typical dynamic binding capacity (DBC) of CIMmultus Oligo dT for mRNA is 2-4 mg/mL; ever higher IVT productivity will require higher binding capacities. Screening experiments to elucidate factors affecting CIMmultus Oligo dT binding capacity for mRNA were performed in CIM® 96-well Oligo dT format. A simplified model identified NaCl, guanidine hydrochloride (Gu-HCl) and MgCl2 concentration as the key factors contributing to DBC. Buffer chemistry, buffer pH, salt type and mRNA concentration had little or no effect on DBC.

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Sample displacement chromatography (SDC) is a chromatographic technique that utilizes differences in relative binding affinities of components in a sample mixture under chromatographic conditions. Here, we use SDC approach with CIM® C4 HLD monoliths under hydrophobic interaction chromatography (HIC) conditions to separate plasmid DNA (pDNA) isoforms under overloading conditions, where supercoiled (SC) isoform acts as a displacer of open circular (OC) or linear isoform. High purity of SC isoform is beneficial for use of plasmids as vaccines, transfecting agents for production of gene therapy viral vectors, or as starting material for linearization prior to IVT reaction in production of mRNA vaccines.

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The cost of mRNA production is driven by IVT reagents, particularly the capping reagent. Optimization of mRNA yield is therefore crucial for lowering the cost of mRNA production. In order to monitor IVT reaction over time, we implemented a rapid at-line HPLC monitoring of consumption of NTPs with concomitant production of mRNA, with a sub-3 min read-out. Use of CIMac PrimaS analytical column allowed us to determine and adjust key IVT components that influence the kinetics of mRNA production and are critical for optimization of continuous addition of reagents, i.e. fed-batch IVT.

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CIM® PrimaS column family combines multimodal anion exchange/hydrogen bonding properties, binding molecules with predominantly negative charge. It is used as capture method for purification of mRNA from IVT (in-vitro transcription) reaction mixture with high binding capacity. High salt wash is used to elute the plasmid and other IVT components from the column without affecting binding of ssRNA.

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Microvolume spectrophotometers are commonly used as quick and easy method to measure concentration and purity of nucleic acids. DSP process for purification of mRNA includes unit operations with salt concentrations up to 2.75 M (HIC) or up to 1.25 M (Oligo dT) during load and low salt concentrations during elution.

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mRNA has been at the forefront of both scientific and general public interests from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The demand for the mRNA product has been incredible for the last couple of years. However, there are still limited options available for a rapid mRNA quantification and characterization. In this work, mRNA analytics using a CIMac Oligo dT column is presented. mRNA is a specialized group of RNAs that carries the blueprints for building proteins from the cell’s DNA in the nucleus to the ribosomes in the cytoplasm. One of the features of mRNA molecules is a polyadenylated (poly(A)) tail on the 3’ end, that can be up to 250 nucleotides long. This feature enables mRNA to bind to the Oligo dT column. HPLC Oligo dT analytics provide a solution for fast and reproducible quantification of mRNA throughout all the process steps of mRNA production and purification. The presented method was validated using mFix4, an uncapped mRNA analog produced in-house, 3969 nt long molecule with a poly(A )tail length of 95 nucleotides.

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Adenovirus is well-know gene therapy tool that gained attention as a promising vaccine delivery vehicle, specially during Covid-19 pandemics, where it was used to deliver sequence for protein S (S). Multiple serotypes have been tested in clinical trials for various applications, the most common one being human adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5). With this in mind, we chose Ad5-S construct with GFP tag as a model vector to develop upstream process (USP) and supporting analytical tools.

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Messenger RNA (mRNA) is becoming a major contributor in the fields of gene therapy and vaccines, including those developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Convective Interaction Media® (CIM®) Styrene divinylbenzene (SDVB) monolithic columns are promising for high resolution purification and separation of mRNA, enabling large-scale production of this molecule. This study demonstrates the ability to prepare homogeneous SDVB monoliths with desired chromatographic properties and economical analytics over the whole size range.

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Agarose gel electrophoresis (AGE) analysis is an important method for monitoring of plasmid DNA (pDNA) quality, with ability to separate pDNA isoforms (sc, oc, lin, multimer). Plasmid linearization can be monitored for purposes of producing starting material for mRNA production. Electrophoretic conditions and, more importantly, matrix used for sample dilution before gel loading can affect analytical results. We have observed that purified linear pDNA shows an additional band in AGE analysis of the sample in water medium, which can lead to misinterpretation of results. 

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Recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV) vectors are the leading gene delivery tool for treatment of a variety of diseases. While several rAAV mediated therapies have been approved so far, and many more are in clinical trials, rAAV production still faces many challenges. Key goal of rAAV upstream process development is achievieng high viral titer together with a sufficient percentage of full capsids. Moreover, analysis of complex upstream harvest samples can be challenging. Classical analytical methods such as ddPCR/ELISA offer limited information due to differences in sample preparation and basic principles for detecting empty and full capsids. Method is also time consuming and therefore less useful for following rAAV production process in real time. To overcome these limitations, we developed a PATfix Valve Switch analytical method that is based on ion exchange high pressure liquid chromatography (IEX-HPLC) and can be successfully applied for analysis of empty/full ratios in crude upstream samples.

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Extracellular vesicles (EV) are lipid bound products secreted by cells. Among them, exosomes have great potential for clinical applications. Animal and human-derived components used in cell culture, such as fetal bovine serum (FBS), naturally contain exosomes that can cross-contaminate the desired product. In order to study exosomes derived from cells of interest, multiple producers have come up with exosome-depleted FBS (EV (-) FBS) generated using different approaches. In this work we evaluated commercially available EV (-) FBS supplements for residual exosome content and tested their performance in upstream exosome production process. The analysis was performed with PATfix high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) system using PATfix size exclusion (SEC) analytical method.

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2021

The recently demonstrated efficacy of mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccines has shown promise of this therapeutic format, but also highlighted the need for higher efficiency of mRNA production to meet enormous needs for global vaccine supply.

Typical mRNA production process involves three key steps: 1) plasmid DNA (pDNA) production in supercoiled (sc) isoform, linearization and purification, 2) in-vitro transcription (IVT) reaction and 3) mRNA purification.

Here we present a chromatographic toolbox and mRNA IVT synthesis for integrated mRNA production from pDNA to mRNA purification, including in-process analytics. This high yield process reduces the overall number of purification steps required, improves recoveries, results in extra low protein impurity and allows for very efficient dsRNA removal.

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The IVT reaction is one of the most expensive steps in mRNA production process and its optimization to reach high mRNA yield is of key importance Standard mRNA quantification techniques like absorbance and fluorescence based assays are time consuming and cannot be performed at line as the IVT reaction progresses In addition, other reaction components like nucleotides and pDNA interfere in the analytical results and reduce the method’s accuracy A new approach shown here uses CIMac PrimaS™ analytical HPLC column to separate and quantify several key IVT components with a very short run time, enabling fast “at line” tracking

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Density gradient ultracentrifugation (DGUC) is a well established tool for Empty/ Full AAV capsid separation based on density differences between AVV sub-populations. However DGUC practice is laborious and lacks any detection options, therefore fractions must be collected manually and analyzed later. Both of these shortcomings can be addressed by coupling post DGUC workflow to PATfix analytical HPLC. BIA Separations PATfix platform
provides sufficient tools for liquid extraction and fractionation as well as a comprehensive detector suite for precise fraction characterization. Baseline separation of capsid species was achieved in a density gradient of CsCl, producing a centrifugram that reveals information traditional DGUC and anion exchange chromatography cannot.

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Optimizing processing steps in sc pDNA isolation is critical for obtaining good process yields as well as high product purity. HPLC with convective chromatography media (e.g. monolith) offers a rapid analytical method to characterize complex biomolecular mixtures and gives immediate feedback during process development. E coli lysis represents such a challenging step, where multiple critical quality attributes need to be identified and critical processing parameters optimized. This approach leads to better yields and product purity, allowing for simplified downstream steps. A new PATfix analytical HPLC platform presented here uses CIMac pDNA column, to separate and characterize plasmid from impurities, allowing for easy optimization of key parameters such as RNA removal.

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In mRNA production process, downstream purification of in vitro transcription (IVT) reaction often relies on precipitation methods which cannot provide resolution, recovery, or reproducibility to consistently produce a safe and effective product with good process economics. mRNA is a large biomolecule (mass of 1000 nt is ~ 150 kDa and >100 nm in diameter) for which porous particle chromatography lacks the ability to support high capacity and throughput to achieve good process economics. Convective flow chromatography media (e.g. monoliths) is an optimal platform for purification. A fully scalable chromatographic purification process is presented for a posttranscriptionally capped in vitro transcribedmRNA.

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2020

HPLC with convective chromatography media (e.g.monolith) offers a rapid analytical method to characterise complex mixtures. Transcription reaction used for production of mRNA represents such a mixture, with components varying in size, chemical and physical properties. A new analytical HPLC approach (PATfix) presented here uses CIMacPrimaS to separate IVT components such as triphosphate-nucleotides (NTPs), enzymes, DNA template and RNA in a very short gradient.

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Linearised pDNA is currently the starting point of In-Vitro-Transcription processes to synthesize mRNA. Large scale purification protocols for manufacturing of pDNA used for Gene Therapy applications typically include two chromatography steps. The first step captures both linear, open circular and supercoiled pDNA species. The polishing step enriches supercoiled pDNA, while discarding other isoforms. We describe a single-step-capture strategy to maximize the recovery of pDNA for further linearization.

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The increasing demand for messenger RNA (mRNA) as a therapeutic product requires larger production scales and more efficient extraction techniques. In this poster, fast and efficient way to purify poly-adenylated mRNA using affinity chromatography on CIMmultus™ Oligo dT column is presented.

The poly-adenylated tail of mRNA interacts with covalently bound oligo dT ligands in high-salt loading conditions, where electrostatic repulsion between negatively charged backbones of both, mRNA and oligo dT, are reduced and H-bonding in T-A base pair is emphasized. High salt concentration additionally screens out attractive electrostatic interactions between mRNA and other components in the process sample, thus facilitating aggregate reduction in purified product.

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2019

AAV vector lots are generally a heterogeneous mixture of empty particles (i e do not contain DNA) and full particles (i.e. contain DNA). Different spectrometric based methods can be used to establish the ratio between full and empty AAV particles, but accurate evaluation of empty/full ratio is often obstructed due to complex spectroscopic behavior of empty and full AAV particles, such as poor separation and impurity overlapping. An approach that takes difference in physical chemical properties between empty and full capsids into account overcomes limitations of spectrometric based evaluation of empty and full AAV particle ratio.

Chromatographic separation of empty and full AAV 2 8 capsids was achieved on the CIMac AAV full/empty analytical column (strong anion exchanger, QA quaternary amine chemistry) with the PATfix TM HPLC system using a linear NaCl gradient at pH 9.0 Signal response from three different detectors connected in series was analyzed fluorescence (excitation 280 nm emission 348 nm), light scattering 90 angle, LS) and UV absorbance 260 nm and 280 nm).

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