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Development of at-line assay to monitor charge variants of MAbs during production

M. M. St. Amand, B. A. Ogunnaike, A.S. Robinson

Published online in Wiley Online Library, 2013

One major challenge currently facing the biopharmaceutical industry is to understand how MAb microheterogeneity affects therapeutic efficacy, potency, immunogenicity, and clearance. MAb micro-heterogeneity can result from post-translational modifications such as sialylation, galactosylation, C-terminal lysine cleavage, glycine amidation, and tryptophan oxidation, each of which can generate MAb charge variants; such heterogeneity can affect pharmacokinetics (PK) considerably. Implementation of appropriate on-line quality control strategies may help to regulate bioprocesses, thus enabling more homogenous material with desired posttranslational modifications and PK behavior. However, one major restriction to implementation of quality control strategies is the availability of techniques for obtaining on-line or at line measurements of these attributes. In this work, we describe the development of an at-line assay to separate MAb charge variants in near real-time, which could ultimately be used to implement on-line quality control strategies for MAb production. The assay consists of a 2DHPLC method with sequential in-line Protein A and WCX-10 HPLC column steps. To perform the 2D-HPLC assay at-line, the two columns steps were integrated into a single method using
a novel system configuration that allowed parallel flow over column 1 or column 2 or sequential flow from column 1 to column 2. A bioreactor system was also developed such that media samples could be removed automatically from bioreactor vessels during production and delivered
to the 2D-HPLC for analysis. With this at-line HPLC assay, we have demonstrated that MAb microheterogeneity occurs throughout the cell cycle whether the host cell line is grown under different or the same nominal culture conditions.

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