by Nejc Pavlin, Blaž Bakalar, Janja Skok, Špela Kralj, Andreja Gramc Livk, and Aleš Štrancar
BioProcess International, October 2021
Plasmid DNA (pDNA) has become a crucial component in the production of next generation therapeutics such as messenger RNA (mRNA) and viral vectors.
As companies ramp up their production capabilities and move towards clinical applications, obtaining cGMP grade pDNA has become a production bottleneck, leading to lengthy production delays.
There is a growing market demand for solutions that can streamline the production of cGMP pDNA and help optimize down-stream processes (DSP) for better yields & purity.
The key step in this process is having quantifiably reliable analytics that give rapid results
for process optimization and scale-up, as well as production runs.
Establishing and expanding inhouse pDNA production platform in a quick and efficient manner will be a key differentiator between more and less successful next generation therapeutics projects.
Urh Černigoj, Jana Vidič, Ana Ferjančič, Urša Sinur, Klemen Božič, Nina Mencin, Anže Martinčič Celjar, Pete Gagnon, Aleš Štrancar
Electrophoresis, September 2021. https://doi.org/10.1002/elps.202100210
Elution of strong and weak anion exchangers with sodium chloride gradients is commonly employed for analysis of sample mixtures containing different isomers of plasmid DNA. Gradient elution of a weak anion exchanger (diethylaminoethyl, DEAE) in the presence of guanidine hydrochloride (Gdn) roughly doubles resolution between open-circular (oc) and supercoiled (sc) isomers. It also improves resolution among sc, linear, and multimeric/aggregated forms. Sharper elution peaks with less tailing increase sensitivity about 30%. However, elution with an exclusively-Gdn gradient to 900 mM causes more than 10% loss of plasmid. Elution with a sodium chloride gradient while maintaining Gdn at a level concentration of 300 mM achieves close to 100% recovery of sc plasmid while maintaining the separation improvements achieved by exclusively-Gdn elution. Corresponding improvements in separation performance are not observed on a strong (quaternary amine) anion exchanger. Other chaotropic salts do not produce a favorable result on either exchanger, nor does the inclusion of surfactants or EDTA. Selectivity of the DEAE-Gdn method is orthogonal to electrophoresis, but with better quantification than agarose electrophoresis, better quantitative accuracy than capillary electrophoresis, and resolution approaching capillary electrophoresis.
U. Černigoj, A. Štrancar
DNA Vaccines. Methods in Molecular Biology, vol 2197, pp 167-192
Purification of high-quality plasmid DNA in large quantities is a crucial step in its production for therapeutic use and is usually conducted by different chromatographic techniques. Large-scale preparations require the optimization of yield and homogeneity, while maximizing removal of contaminants and preserving molecular integrity. The advantages of Convective Interaction Media® (CIM®) monolith stationary phases, including low backpressure, fast separation of macromolecules, and flow-rate-independent resolution qualified them to be used effectively in separation of plasmid DNA on laboratory as well as on large scale. A development and scale-up of plasmid DNA downstream process based on chromatographic monoliths is described and discussed below. Special emphasis is put on the introduction of process analytical technology principles and tools for optimization and control of a downstream process.
Miladys Limonta, Lourdes Zumalacarregui, Urska Vidic, Nika Lendero Krajnc
The main component of the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) candidate vaccine against Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the pIDKE2 plasmid. The current designed downstream process for the production of pIDKE2 fulfils all regulatory requirements and renders the required quantities of pharamceutical-grade plasmid DNA (pDNA)with 95% purity. The advantages of this procedure include high plasmid purity and the elimination of undesirable additives. such as toxic organic extractants and animal-derived enzymes. However, yields and consequently the productivity of the process are low. Previous work demonstrated that the most critical step of the process is the reverse phase chromatography, where conventional porous particle resins are used. Therefore, to increase the process productivity alternative technologies such as membranes and chromatographic monoliths were tested as alternative options for this critical step. Here, a comparison between the behaviours of CIM® C4-HLD and Sartobind phenyl matrices was performed.
A.M. Almeida, J.A. Queiroz, F. Sousa, A. Sousa
Journal of Chromatography B, 978–979 (2015) 145–150
The progress of DNA vaccines is dependent on the development of suitable chromatographic procedures to successfully purify genetic vectors, such as plasmid DNA. Human Papillomavirus is associated with the development of tumours due to the oncogenic power of E6 and E7 proteins, produced by this virus. The supercoiled HPV-16 E6/E7 plasmid-based vaccine was recently purified with the arginine monolith, with 100% of purity, but only 39% of recovery was achieved. Therefore, the present study describes the application of experimental design tools, a newly explored methodology in preparative chromatography, in order to improve the supercoiled plasmid DNA recovery with the arginine monolith, maintaining the high purity degree. In addition, the importance and influence of pH in the pDNA retention to the arginine ligand was also demonstrated. The Composite Central Face design was validated and the recovery of the target molecule was successfully improved from 39% to 83.5%, with an outstanding increase of more than double, while maintaining 100% of purity.
Zunyang Ke, Yu Wang and Zhongming Li
Anion-exchange chromatography is a key capture step in downstream processing plasmid DNA (pDNA). Separation of pDNA using traditional particle-based anion-exchange supports is usually slow and has a low capacity for pDNA due to steric exclusion effects. Due to convective mass transfer properties, and large flow-through channels for binding large biomolecules, monoliths have been shown to provide a fast and efficient alternative for pDNA purification. This study describes the use of monoliths for purification of a therapeutic pDNA vaccine against multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB).
Urh Černigoj, Urška Martinuč, Sara Cardoso, Rok Sekirnik, Nika Lendero Krajnc, Aleš Štrancar
Sample displacement chromatography (SDC) is a chromatographic technique that utilises different rela-tive binding affinities of components in a sample mixture and has been widely studied in the context ofpeptide and protein purification. Here, we report a use of SDC to separate plasmid DNA (pDNA) isoformsunder overloading conditions, where supercoiled (sc) isoform acts as a displacer of open circular (oc) orlinear isoform. Since displacement is more efficient when mass transfer between stationary and mobilechromatographic phases is not limited by diffusion, we investigated convective interaction media (CIM)monoliths as stationary phases for pDNA isoform separation. CIM monoliths with different hydrophobic-ities and thus different binding affinities for pDNA (CIM C4 HLD, CIM-histamine and CIM-pyridine) weretested under hydrophobic interaction chromatography (HIC) conditions. SD efficiency for pDNA isoformseparation was shown to be dependent on column selectivity for individual isoform, column efficiencyand on ammonium sulfate (AS) concentration in loading buffer (binding strength). SD and negative modeelution often operate in parallel, therefore negative mode elution additionally influences the efficiencyof the overall purification process. Optimisation of chromatographic conditions achieved 98% sc pDNAhomogeneity and a dynamic binding capacity of over 1 mg/mL at a relatively low concentration of AS.SDC was successfully implemented for the enrichment of sc pDNA for plasmid vectors of different sizes,and for separation of linear and and sc isoforms, independently of oc:sc isoform ratio, and flow-rate used.This study therefore identifies SDC as a promising new approach to large-scale pDNA purification, whichis compatible with continuous, multicolumn chromatography systems, and could therefore be used toincrease productivity of pDNA production in the future.
E. Mota, A. Sousa, U. Černigoj, J. A. Queiroz, C. T. Tomaz, F. Sousa
Journal of Chromatography A (2013)
The demand for high-purity supercoiled plasmid DNA to be applied as a vector for new therapeutic strategies, such as gene therapy or DNA vaccination has increased in the last years. Thus, it is necessary to implement an analytical technique suitable to control the quality of the supercoiled plasmid as a pharmaceutical product during the manufacturing process. The present study describes a new methodology to quantify and monitor the purity of supercoiled plasmid DNA by using a monolithic column based on anion-exchange chromatography. This analytical method with UV detection allows the separation of the plasmid isoforms by combining a NaCl stepwise gradient. The specificity, linearity, accuracy, reproducibility and repeatability of the method have been evaluated, and the lower quantification and detection limits were also established. The validation was performed according to the guidelines, being demonstrated that the method is precise and accurate for a supercoiled plasmid concentration up to 200 μg/mL. The main advantage achieved by using this monolithic column is the possibility to quantify the supercoiled plasmid in a sample containing other plasmid topologies, in a 4 min experiment. This column also permits the assessment of the supercoiled plasmid DNA present in more complex samples, allowing to control its quality throughout the bioprocess. Therefore, these findings strengthen the possibility of using this monolithic column associated with a powerful analytical method to control the process development of supercoiled plasmid DNA production and purification for therapeutic applications.
S. Haberl, M. Jarc, A. Štrancar, M. Peterka, D. Hodžić, D. Miklavčič
J Membrane Biol, DOI 10.1007/s00232-013-9580-5
The use of plasmid DNA (pDNA) as a pharmaceutical tool has increased since it represents a safer vector for gene transfer compared to viral vectors. Different pDNA extraction methods have been described; among them is alkaline lysis, currently the most commonly used. Although alkaline lysis represents an established method for isolation of pDNA, some drawbacks are recognized, such as entrapment of pDNA in cell debris, leading to lower pDNA recovery; the time-consuming process; and increase of the volume due to the buffers used, all leading to increased cost of production. We compared the concentration of extracted pDNA when two methods for extracting pDNA from Escherichia coli were used: alkaline lysis and a method based on membrane electroporation, electroextraction. At the same time, we also studied the effect of different pulse protocols on bacterial inactivation. The concentration of pDNA was assayed with anion exchange chromatography. When alkaline lysis was used, two incubations of lysis time (5 and 10 min) were compared in terms of the amount of isolated pDNA. We did not observe any difference in pDNA concentration regardless of incubation time used. In electroextraction, different pulse protocols were used in order to exceed the pDNA concentration obtained by alkaline lysis. We show that electroextraction gives a higher concentration of extracted pDNA than alkaline lysis, suggesting the use of electroporation as a potentially superior method for extracting pDNA from E. coli. In addition, electroextraction represents a quicker alternative to alkaline lysis for extracting pDNA.
B. Gabor, U. Černigoj, M. Barut, A. Štrancar
Journal of Chromatography A, 1311 (2013) 106-114
HPLC based analytical assay is a powerful technique that can be used to efficiently monitor plasmid DNA (pDNA) purity and quantity throughout the entire purification process. Anion exchange monolithic and non-porous particle based stationary phases were used to study the recovery of the different pDNA isoforms from the analytical column. Three differently sized pDNA molecules of 3.0 kbp, 5.2 kbp and 14.0 kbp were used. Plasmid DNA was injected onto columns under the binding conditions and the separation of the isoforms took place by increasing the ionic strength of the elution buffer. While there was no substantial decrease of the recovered supercoiled and linear isoforms of the pDNA with the increase of the plasmid size and with the increase of the flow rate (recoveries in all cases larger than 75%), a pronounced decrease of the oc isoform recovery was observed. The entrapment of the oc pDNA isoform occurred under non-binding conditions as well. The partial oc isoform elution from the column could be achieved by decreasing the flow rate of the elution mobile phase. The results suggested a reversible entrapment of the oc isoform in the restrictions within the pores of the monolithic material as well as within the intra-particle space of the non-porous particles. This phenomenon was observed on both types of the stationary phase morphologies and could only be connected to the size of a void space through which the pDNA needs to migrate. A prediction of reversible pDNA entrapment was successfully estimated with the calculation of Peclet numbers, Pe, which defines the ratio between a convective and diffusive mass transport.
M. Limonta, N. Lendero Krajnc, U. Vidic, L. Zumalacárregui
Biochemical Engineering Journal 80 (2013) 14-18
The pIDKE2 plasmid is the main component of the CIGB's candidate vaccine against Hepatitis C virus (HVC), which is being used in HCV chronically-infected individuals during clinical trials phase 1 and 2. The designed downstream process of pIDKE2 plasmid produces up to 179 g/year. In order to conduct further improvements, modelling of the downstream process was performed. A methodology based on process analysis tools, such as experimental design and modelling was established to identify factors with the highest influence on production cost and the amount of annual plasmid. Taking into account that the pIDKE2 downstream process designed is in its initial stages of development, CIM technology was evaluated as a new manufacturing process on lab scale. Purity and recovery of CIM technology was better than porous particle matrix, thus SuperPro Designer was used in order to simulate the purification process. Cost efficiency optimization of the pIDKE2 downstream process was done with the simulation model.
A. Ghanem, R. Healey, F. G. Adly
Analytica Chimica Acta 760 (2013) 1-15
Plasmid DNA (pDNA)-based vaccines offer more rapid avenues for development and production if compared to those of conventional virus-based vaccines. They do not rely on time- or labour-intensive cell culture processes and allow greater flexibility in shipping and storage. Stimulating antibodies and cellmediated components of the immune system are considered as some of the major advantages associated with the use of pDNA vaccines. This review summarizes the current trends in the purification of pDNA vaccines for practical and analytical applications. Special attention is paid to chromatographic techniques aimed at reducing the steps of final purification, post primary isolation and intermediate recovery, in order to reduce the number of steps necessary to reach a purified end product from the crude plasmid.
A. Romanovskaya, L. P. Sarina, D. H. Bamford, M. M. Poranen
Journal of Chromatography A (2013)
Recent advances in the field of RNA interference and new cost-effective approaches for large-scale double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) synthesis have fuelled the demand for robust high-performance purification techniques suitable for dsRNA molecules of various lengths. To address this issue, we developed an improved dsRNA purification method based on anion exchange chromatography utilizing convective interaction media (CIM) monolithic columns. To evaluate column performance we synthesized a selection of dsRNA molecules (58–1810 bp) in a one-step enzymatic reaction involving bacteriophage T7 DNA-dependent RNA polymerase and phi6 RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. In addition, small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) of 25–27 bp were generated by Dicer digestion of the genomic dsRNA of bacteriophage phi6. We demonstrated that linearly scalable CIM monolithic quaternary amine (QA) columns can be used as a fast and superior alternative to standard purification methods (e.g. LiCl precipitation) to obtain highly pure dsRNA preparations. The impurities following Dicer treatment were quickly and efficiently removed with the QA CIM monolithic column, yielding siRNA molecules of high purity suitable for potential therapeutic applications. Moreover, baseline separation of dsRNA molecules up to 1 kb in non-denaturing conditions was achieved.
J. Ruščić, I. Gutierrez-Aguirre, L. Urbas, P. Kramberger, N. Mehle, D. Škorić, M. Barut, M. Ravnikar, M. Krajačić
Journal of Chromatography A, 1274 (2013) 129-136
Potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd) is the causal agent of a number of agriculturally important diseases. It is a single-stranded, circular and unencapsidated RNA molecule with only 356–360 nucleotides and no coding capacity. Because of its peculiar structural features, it is very stable ex vivo and it is easily transmitted mechanically by contaminated hands, tools, machinery, etc. In this work, we describe the development and optimization of a method for concentrating PSTVd using Convective Interaction Media (CIM) monolithic columns. The ion-exchange chromatography on diethylamine (DEAE) monolithic analytical column (CIMac DEAE-0.1 mL) resulted in up to 30% PSTVd recovery whilst the hydrophobic interaction chromatography on C4 monolithic analytical column (CIMac C4-0.1 mL) improved it up to 60%. This was due to the fact that the binding of the viroid to the C4 matrix was less strong than to the highly charged anion-exchange matrix and could be easier and more completely eluted under the applied chromatographic conditions. Based on these preliminary results, a C4 HLD-1 (High Ligand Density) 1 mL monolithic tube column was selected for further experiments. One-litre-water samples were mixed with different viroid quantities and loaded onto the column. By using reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR), the viroid RNA was quantified in the elution fraction (≈5 mL) indicating that 70% of the viroid was recovered and concentrated by at least two orders of magnitude. This approach will be helpful in screening irrigation waters and/or hydroponic systems’ nutrient solutions for the presence of even extremely low concentrations of PSTVd.
M. J. Shin, L. Tan, M. H. Jeong, J.-H. Kim, W.-S. Choe
Journal of Chromatography A, 1218 (2011) 5273-5278
Immobilized metal affinity monolith column as a new class of chromatographic support is shown to be superior to conventional particle-based column as plasmid DNA (pDNA) purification platform. By harnessing the affinity of endotoxin to copper ions in the solution, a majority of endotoxin (90%) was removed from the alkaline cell lysate using CuCl2-induced precipitation. RNA and remaining endotoxin were subsequently removed to below detection limit with minimal loss of pDNA using either monolith or particle-based column. Monolith column has the additional advantage of feed concentration and flowrate-independent dynamic binding capacity for RNA molecules, enabling purification process to be conducted at high feed RNA concentration and flowrate. The use of monolith column gives three fold increased productivity of pDNA as compared to particle-based column, providing a more rapid and economical platform for pDNA purification.
F. Smrekar, A. Podgornik, M. Ciringer, S. Kontrec, P. Raspor, A. Štrancar, M. Peterka
Vaccine 28 (2010) 2039–2045
Plasmid DNA (pDNA) used in vaccination and gene therapy has to be highly pure and homogenous, which point out necessity to develop efficient, reproducible and scalable downstream process. Convective Interaction Media (CIM) monolithic chromatographic supports being designed for purification of large molecules and nanoparticles seem to be a matrix of choice for pDNA purification. In present work we describe a pDNA purification process designed on two different CIM monolithic columns, based on anion-exchange (AEX) chromatography and hydrophobic interaction chromatography (HIC) chemistry. HIC monolith enabled separation of supercoiled (sc) pDNA from open circular (oc) pDNA, genomic DNA (gDNA) and endotoxins regardless to flow rates in the range at least up to 380 cm/h. Dynamic binding capacity of new HIC monolith is up to 4 mg of pDNA per milliliter of support. Combination of both chromatographic steps using optimized CaCl2 precipitation enabled production of pure pDNA, satisfying all regulatory requirements. Process was found to be reproducible, scalable, and exhibits high productivity. In addition, in-line monitoring of pDNA purification process is shown, using CIM DEAE disk monolithic columns.
N. Lendero Krajnc, F. Smrekar, A. Štrancar, A. Podgornik
Journal of Chromatography A, 1218 (2011) 2413-2424
The objective of this study was to investigate the behavior of large plasmids on the monolithic columns under binding and nonbinding conditions. The pressure drop measurements under nonbinding conditions demonstrated that the flow velocities under which plasmid passing monolith became hindered by the monolithic pore structure depended on the plasmid size as well as on the average monolith pore size; however, they were all very high exceeding the values encountered when applying CIM monolithic columns at their maximal flow rate. The impact of the ligand density and the salt concentration in loading buffer on binding capacity of the monolith for different sized plasmids was examined. For all plasmids the increase of dynamic binding capacity with the increase of salt concentration in the loading solution was observed reaching maximum of 7.1 mg/mL at 0.4 M NaCl for 21 kbp, 12.0 mg/mL at 0.4 M NaCl for 39.4 kbp and 8.4 mg/mL at 0.5 M NaCl for 62.1 kbp. Analysis of the pressure drop data measured on the monolithic column during plasmid loading revealed different patterns of plasmid binding to the surface, showing “car-parking problem” phenomena under certain conditions. In addition, layer thickness of adsorbed plasmid was estimated and at maximal dynamic binding capacity it matched calculated plasmid radius of gyration. Finally, it was found that the adsorbed plasmid layer acts similarly as the grafted layer responding to changes in solution's ionic strength as well as mobile phase flow rate and that the density of plasmid layer depends on the plasmid size and also loading conditions.
M. Peterka, P. Kramberger, A. Štrancar
Wang, Perry G. (ur.). Monolithic chromatography and its modern applications. St Albans: ILM publications, 2010, pg. 489-508
Downstream processing (DSP) for purification can become a significant bottleneck in the production of novel biotherapeutics, such as viral vectors and vaccines (viral or DNA). Although different techniques can be used for the purification of large molecules and particles, liquid chromatography is the preferred method as it achieves the purity required by regulatory agencies. Despite the popularity of conventional chromatographic media, the diffusional mass transfer of large molecules and relatively small pore size remain limiting factors for the efficient separation of large biomolecules and particles.
S. Yamamoto, M. Nakamura, C. Tarmann, A. Jungbauer
Journal of Chromatography A 1216 (2009) 2616-2620
Our previous study has shown that there is a good correlation between the number of charges of DNA (from trimer to 50-mer) and the number of binding sites B in electrostatic interaction chromatography (ion-exchange chromatography, IEC). It was also found that high salt (NaCl) concentration is needed to elute large DNAs (>0.6 M). In this paper we further performed experiments with large DNAs (up to 95-mer polyT and polyA) and charged liposome particles of different sizes (ca. 30, 50 and 100 nm) with a monolithic anion-exchange disk in order to understand the binding and elution mechanism of very large charged biomolecules or particles. The peak salt (NaCl) concentration increased with increasing DNA length. However, above 50-mer DNAs the value did not increase significantly with DNA length (ca. 0.65–0.70 M). For liposome particles of different sizes the peak salt concentration (ca. 0.62 M) was similar and slightly lower than that for large DNAs (ca. 0.65–0.70 M). The binding site values (ca. 25–30) are smaller than those for large DNAs. When arginine was used as a mobile phase modulator, the elution position of polyA and polyT became very close whereas in NaCl gradient elution polyT appeared after polyA eluted. This was mainly due to suppression of hydrophobic interaction by arginine.
M. Ćurković Perica, I. Šola, L. Urbas, F. Smrekar, M. Krajačić
Journal of Chromatography A 1216 (2009) 2712-2716
A procedure based on BIA Separations CIM DEAE anion-exchange chromatography was developed to separate double-stranded (ds) RNA of hypovirus infecting phytopathogenic fungus Cryphonectria parasitica. Using a linear gradient of 25 mM 4-morpholinepropanesulfonic acid (MOPS), pH 7.0 as a binding buffer, and 25 mM MOPS, 1.5 M NaCl, 0.1 mM EDTA, 15% isopropanol (v/v), pH 7.0 as an elution buffer, hypoviral dsRNA was additionally purified from nucleic acid species present in preparations partially purified by standard CF-11 cellulose chromatography. Moreover, crude phenol/chloroform extracts of the fungal tissue were also applied to monolithic supports and CIM DEAE chromatograms revealed clear evidence for hypoviral presence without CF-11 chromatography, nucleic acid precipitation, and electrophoresis.