There are many cases, where a single protein needs to be purified from a complex sample. Such proteins manifest themselves as impurities, which can affect further analysis, either by causing specific equipment malfunction or lower yield in the products. In other cases the specific protein is our molecule of interest, for example in glycomics analysis. In both cases high specificity for proteins, reproducibility and reliability is necessary. We have developed a model immunoaffinity column and 96-well plate based on an anti-fibrinogen monoclonal antibody, covalently immobilized onto CIMac™ HDZ analytical chromatographic monolith.

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Immunoaffinity columns using antibodies as ligands against mammalian membrane proteins could be used for different applications in protein expresion control and, if a standard available, for concentration determination. Additionally these columns are ideal for polishing step of Fc fusion proteins of mammalian receptors.

Most importantly such columns could extract a significant amount of a pure membrane mammalian protein suitable for structural analyses, such as mass spec analysis of their glycans. Immunoaffinity chromatographic monoliths against MULT-1 transmembrane and RAE-1 GPI anchored glycoproteins were developed as a part of Glycomet project with the main goal to analyze the antigen glycan parts.

Two different  preactivated support were used:  hydrazide (HDZ) and carbonyldiimidazole (CDI).

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There are many cases, where a single protein needs to be purified from a complex sample. Such proteins manifest themselves as impurities, which can affect further analysis, either by causing specific equipment malfunction or lower yield in the products. In other cases the specific protein is our molecule of interest, for example in glycomics analysis. In both cases high specificity for proteins, reproducibility and reliability is necessary. We have developed a model immunoaffinity column and 96-well plate based on an anti-fibrinogen monoclonal antibody, covalently immobilized onto CIMac™ analytical chromatographic monolith.

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To ensure the desired chromatographic characteristics of the CIM® monolithic column at large scales, monolith microstructure morphology, pore size distribution, porosity and surface ligand density should be uniform. To demonstrate the uniformity of large chromatographic monoliths we have developed new testing procedures. By fabricating smaller columns (disks) from different random  positions of larger monolith, non-cGMP compliant chromatographic testing can be applied on the same polymerization batch without affecting the cGMP compliance of large-scale chromatographic monolith. Each individual disk was thoroughly tested and the results were compared to the properties of the large monolith.

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The reduction of downstream costs is one of the priorites of the efficient bioprocessing production line. Prolonging the chromatographic column useability results in less material expenses. An efficient way to prolong the life time of the anion-exchanging chromatographic monolith is decribed, when standard CIP procedure fails.

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Productivity of the downstream bioprocessing depends among others on the efficiency of chromatographic step. One of the crucial chromatographic parameters is dynamic binding capacity (DBC) for certain biomolecule. DBC could be tailored with changing the surface area of convective pores by tailoring the surface of pre-polymerized monoliths using graft or block polymerization of polymer brushes. Grafted CIM monoliths have already been prepared via Radical Polymerization (RP) and successfully characterized (1).

Recently, the implementation and optimization of Controlled Radical Polymerization (CRP) for grafting of large pore monoliths (average diameter 6 μm ) resulted in polymethacrylate-based ionic exchanger with at least 5 times higher DBC compared to non-grafted 6 μm monoliths, while preserving high permeability. The main goal of our study was to chromatographically characterize novel grafted ion-exchanging monoliths (CIM gDEAE and CIM gSO3) to see whether novel columns still retain flow independent chromatographic properties of non-grafted monoliths.

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Production of high value biological therapeutics usually involves complex manufacturing processes with high process variability. Additionally, development of robust and reliable bioprocesses can be challenging. PAT aims to enhance bioprocess understanding and implies a holistic approach to ensure that quality is built into products by design. Efficient PAT therefore calls for fast and robust analytical techniques which enables to asses high quality information about critical quality attributes and key performance indicators as parallel as possible to the manufacturing process. PATfinder™ is unique HPLC system for routine gradient separations that enables every analytical task. Equipped with bio-inert ceramic pump heads is deliberately tailored to meet the demands of analytical applications covering wide range of biomolecules. Highly sensitive and fast multi-wavelength detector enables to detect component peaks even in very fast gradients.

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Methacrylate monoliths (CIM® monolithic columns) allow for very fast and efficient separations and exhibit very high binding capacities for extremely large bio-particles due to their large inner channel diameters and enhanced mass transfer characteristics.
Additionally, the ability to manufacture polymer monolithic materials ranging from analytical to large scale preparative/industrial columns has tremendous advantages. By ensuring the chromatographic properties are consistent over the whole size range, one can easily design and optimize a purification method on laboratory scale and transfer it to a production line with minimal to no additional modifications.

Until now the largest monolithic column had a volume of 8 L, which was large enough to serve the biopharmaceutics' market's needs. Now however, the capacity of that column is already at its upper limit.

By successfully employing the knowledge and experience from almost two decades of monolith production we have managed to overcome the size limitations and polymerize the largest convective chromatographic support made from one piece of material, a 40 L monolithic column.

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Enrichment of phosphopeptides prior to LC-MS analysis is a crucial sample preparation step because of their low stoichiometry in biological sample, longer retention on reversed phase columns, and lower ionization efficiency compared to non-phosphorylated peptides [1].The use of metal oxides, most prominently of TiO2 enabled efficient and relatively simple phosphopeptide-enrichment. In this study a new monolithic column from BIA Separations containing immobilized TiO2-nanoparticles was tested for its ability to enrich phosphopeptides. The TiO2-column was also tested for possible carryover originating from biological samples. In conclusion, tested monolithic TiO2 columns show significant binding ability for phosphopeptides and are considered as suitable for phosphopeptide enrichment.

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Phosphoproteomics is a branch of proteomics that focuses on deriving a comprehensive view of the extent & dynamics of protein phosphorylation by way of identifying & characterizing proteins that contain a phosphate group as a posttranslational modification. One of the approaches for specific enrichment of phosphopeptides from complex samples is metal oxide affinity chromatography (MOAC), where the specific adsorption results from bridging bidentate bindings formed between the phosphate anions and the surface of a metal oxide, such as TiO2, ZrO2, Fe2O3, and Al2O3. In presented study, a rutile TiO2 nanoparticles were bound to a previously polymerised CIM hydroxy monoliths.

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Surface hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity of chromatographic stationary phases is one of the important characteristics that influence the chromatographic column performance. On the one hand, the surface should be highly hydrophilic to avoid nonspecific adsorption of sample molecules; on the other hand, the hydrophobic surface is crutial to e.g. separate the molecule isoforms.Therefore, fast and easy characterization method to evaluate the surface „hydrophobic/hydrophilic character" could be valuable.

First stage in the development of this method and the objective of this study was to evaluate the hydrophobicity of test set of 1 mL CIM columns with different ligand chemistries and densities. This was achieved by separation of protein mixture under hydrophobic interaction chromatography (HIC) conditions. Proteins were used since monoliths are used mainly in downstream of large biomolecules.

Moreover, since poor recovery under HIC conditions was observed on some columns, the research was additionally expanded with reversed phase chromatography (RPC) to obtain extra information about even more hydrophobic surface properties of monolithic columns. Therefore, after HIC step the RPC step followed and additional elution of proteins was achieved.

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Challenges in monitoring the quality of vaccine production
• Process Analytical Technology (PAT) ensures process reproducibility in bioprocessing
• A mechanism to design, analyze and control pharmaceutical manufacturing processes through the measurement of critical process parameters (CPP) which affect product quality attributes (CQA)
• Initiated by the FDA as part of the 21st Century GMP initiative in 2001 with the goal of increasing productivity
• Application of PAT in vaccine development and manufacturing is challenging due to the sample complexity and batch-to-batch variability.
• During the development of an up- and/or down-stream process of the target biomolecule, a fast, accurate and reliable analytical method is requried for determining the quantity and purity of the product intended for human use

Solution: Convective Interaction Media Monoliths
• Monoliths are chromatography media cast as a single block, inserted into a housing
• Highly inter-connected network of channels (1-2 μm) containing functionalised binding sites for large biomolecules (viruses, VLPs, pDNA, antibodies)
• Performance unaffected by increasing the flow rate or molecular size

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Ion exchange chromatography is one of the most commonly used techniques for the purification and separation of polar samples such as minerals in water or charged biomolecules (Figure 1).

The technique is based upon reversible binding of the charged species to an oppositely charged group that is attached to an insoluble matrix. A quantitative measure of an ion exchanger’s ability to take up exchangeable counter-ions is its capacity, which strongly influence support properties and can be measured by potentiometric titration with a strong acid or base [2]. However, the time to achieve the ion exchange equilibrium (the stationary state the potentiometric titration is based upon) is very long [3]. Consequently, a new method to measure the total ionic capacity of anion exchange resins is being developed.

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CIM (Convective Interaction Media) represent a new generation of chromatographic supports. In contrast to conventional particle supports, where the void volume between individual porous particles is unavoidable, CIM supports consist of a single monolith with open channels. In this way, molecules to be separated are transported into the pores by convection, resulting in short separation times.

CIMsupports proved to be very efficient for extremely fast separations of proteins in ion exchange, hydrophobic interaction and affinity chromatography mode. Recently, the successful separation of DNA as well as some smaller molecules like e.g. peptides and oligonucleotides were also performed.

All the above mentioned separations were carried out on an analytical scale with the use of 0.34 mL CIM discs. The scale-up of monolithic units was limited mainly due to the problems associated to the mechanical stability, poor sample distribution and higher backpressures. The change from the axial to radial flow enables the design of the so-called 8 and 80mLCIM tubes. They were basically designed for very fast purification of macromolecules.

In this work we present some basic characteristics of these newly developed units in terms of separation and binding capacity. In addition, some practical examples will be given and discussed as well.

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