Ana Ferjančič Budihna, Anže Martinčič Celjar, Sergeja Lebar, Andreja Gramc Livk and Aleš Štrancar
Cell & Gene Therapy Insights 2023; 9(9), 1231–1247 | DOI: 10.18609/cgti.2023.161
Rapid advancement of mRNA technology, as a response to the COVID-19 crisis, prompted an increased need for precise analytical methods to support the fast-paced mRNA process development. Accurate and robust analytics are required to support modifications in the mRNA production process, protocols, raw materials, in vitro transcription reaction, purification methods, scale-up, or final formulation processes, to ensure high quality and safety of the final product. This Innovator Insight demonstrates the application of an ion pair reverse phase chromatographic analytical method as a robust analytical tool to determine mRNA fragmentation while also separating in vitro transcription components from the main product. The method’s efficacy is assessed through a comprehensive stability study of a mRNA standard at different temperatures. The chromatographic analytical results are compared to the ones obtained by the capillary gel electrophoresis, a well-established method for the analysis of fragmented mRNA.
Lucija Rebula, Andrej Raspor, Mojca Bavčar, Aleš Štrancar and Maja Leskovec
Journal of Chromatography B, Volume 1217, 15 February 2023
Bacteriophages represent immense potential as therapeutic agents. Many of the most compelling applications of bacteriophages involve human therapy, some pertinent to gene therapy, others involving antibiotic replacement. Phages themselves are considered safe for humans. However, phage lysates may contain many kinds of harmful by-products, especially endotoxins of gram-negative bacteria and protein toxins produced by many pathogenic bacterial species. In bacteriophage research and therapy, most applications ask for highly purified phage suspensions, as such it is crucial to reduce proteins, endotoxins, DNA and other contaminants.
In this article we present an efficient two-step chromatographic purification method for P. aeruginosa bacteriophage PP-01, using Convective Interaction Media (CIM®) monoliths, that is cGMP compliant and easy to scale-up for most stringent production of the therapeutic phage. First chromatographic step on CIMmultus OH resulted in 100% bacteriophage recovery with a reduction of 98 % protein and more than 99 % DNA content. Polishing was conducted using three different column options, CIMmultus with QA, H-Bond and PrimaS ligands. For PP-01 bacteriophage all three different options worked, but multimodal ligands H-Bond and PrimaS outperformed traditional QA in endotoxin removal (7 log step reduction). Additionally, an HPLC analytical method was developed to estimate phage concentration and impurity profile in different in-process samples. The HPLC method shows good correlation with drop assay titration, provides useful insights and can be run very fast with just 20 min per sample analysis.
- Can IVT yields be increased beyond 5-8 g/L?
- Does feeding nucleotides into the IVT reaction increase its yield?
- Is there a fast analytical method to quantify NTPs in IVT in real-time?
- Can production of mRNA be automated?
Transitioning from batch to fed-batch IVT can increase IVT yield to 12 g/L resulting in 50 % reduction in cost per gram of mRNA. Integrating HPLC monitoring of IVT reaction can allow real-time decisions on feed additions.
Janja Skok, Polona Megušar, Tina Vodopivec, Domen Pregeljc, Nina Mencin, Matevž Korenč, Andreja Krušič, Anže Martinčič Celjar, Nejc Pavlin, Jana Krušič, Matthias Mueller, Kevin McHugh, Aleš Štrancar, and Rok Sekirnik
Chemie Ingenieur Techik, October 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic triggered an unprecedented surge in development of mRNA-based vaccines. Despite the need to increase process productivity and thus decrease the cost of mRNA vaccines, limited scientific literature is available on strategies to increase the yield of in vitro transcription (IVT) reaction, the unit operation with highest cost of goods, which has traditionally been performed as a batch reaction. Single-use bioreactors are traditionally used for cell-based production of biopharmaceuticals, but some core functionalities, such as controlled and automated feed addition, are potentially useful for cell-free mRNA processes. We report the production of 2 g mRNA in an Ambr® 250 Modular bioreactor system with a starting volume of 100 mL, reaching a maximum mRNA concentration of 12 g L−1 by a fed-batch IVT approach, and demonstrate the feasibility of continuous fed-batch production, paving the way towards continuous manufacturing of mRNA.
Ana Ferjančič Budihna, Nejc Pavlin, Anže Martinčič Celjar, Andreja Gramc Livk and Aleš Štrancar
BioProcess International eBook, September 14, 2022
Robust and precise chromatographic analytical methods are key for the efficient development of the mRNA production process.
Three different analytical methods, which utilize three different column chemistries, are embedded in a ready-to-use PATfix™ analytical platform to support mRNA process development and product quantification and characterization.
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.
Michael Winkler, Mikhail Goldfarb, Shaojie Weng, Jeff Smith, Susan Wexelblat, John Li, Alejandro Becerra, Sandra Bezemer, Kevin Sleijpen, Aleš Štrancar, Sara Primec, Romina Zabar, April Schubert, Akunna Iheanacho, and David Cetlin
BioProcess International, April 2021
Over the past decade, adenoassociated virus (AAV) vectors have become established as leading gene-delivery vehicles. In 2017, the pipeline for gene therapies included 351 drugs in clinical trials and 316 in preclinical development. As those candidates advance, significant efforts are being made in process development and manufacturing for viral vectors, with the overall goal of reducing process impurities while maintaining the highest possible process yield.
Sartorius BIA Separations has developed and commercialized CIMmultus QA monoliths, which have been cited in several AAV downstream processes for their ability to separate empty and full virus particles effectively. Monolithic supports represent a unique type of stationary phase for liquid chromatography, bioconversion, and solid-phase synthesis. Aside from increased processing speed, monolithic flow-through pores (channels) also provide easy access for large molecules, which supports both purification and depletion of nanoparticles such as plasmid DNA (pDNA) molecules and AAV particles.
Tsutomu Arakawa, Pete Gagnon
Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 107 (2018) 2297-2305
The concept of cosolvent exclusion was developed by a group of Timasheff's laboratory in 1970-1990 and is currently used widely to explain the effects of a variety of cosolvents on the stability and solubility of macromolecules. Not surprisingly, these concepts have had substantial influence in the fields of formulation, protein folding and unfolding, but they have perhaps more surprisingly found their way into the field of chromatography. A variety of excluded cosolvents have been used to enhance binding and resolution of proteins and other macromolecules in ion exchange, hydroxyapatite, affinity, and hydrophobic interaction chromatography. These cosolvents include salting-out salts, amino acids and polymers, and frequently polyethylene glycol (PEG). A new mode of chromatography, termed “steric exclusion chromatography,” was recently introduced. It employs hydroxylated solid phase surfaces. Steric exclusion of the PEG stabilizes the association of macromolecules with the solid phase. Elution is achieved by reducing the PEG concentration. Magnetic particles are also used in this chromatography. This review summarizes the concepts of preferential cosolvent exclusion and its applications in column chromatography.
V.Rajamanickam, D.Wurm, C.Slouka, C.Herwig, O.Spadiut
Anal Bioanal Chem (2016)
The bacterium Escherichia coli is a well-studied recombinant host organism with a plethora of applications in biotechnology. Highly valuable biopharmaceuticals, such as antibody fragments and growth factors, are currently being produced in E. coli. However, the high metabolic burden during recombinant protein production can lead to cell death, consequent lysis, and undesired product loss. Thus, fast and precise analyzers to monitor E. coli bioprocesses and to retrieve key process information, such as the optimal time point of harvest, are needed. However, such reliable monitoring tools are still scarce to date. In this study, we cultivated an E. coli strain producing a recombinant single-chain antibody fragment in the cytoplasm. In bioreactor cultivations, we purposely triggered cell lysis by pH ramps. We developed a novel toolbox using UV chromatograms as fingerprints and chemometric techniques to monitor these lysis events and used flow cytometry (FCM) as reference method to quantify viability offline. Summarizing, we were able to show that a novel toolbox comprising HPLC chromatogram fingerprinting and data science tools allowed the identification of E. coli lysis in a fast and reliable manner. We are convinced that this toolbox will not only facilitate E. coli bioprocess monitoring but will also allow enhanced process control in the future
Sebastijan Peljhan, Tina Jakop, Dunja Šček, Vid Skvarča, Blaž Goričar, Romina Žabar, Nina Mencin. Electrophoresis 2017 July 20
The plasma-derived IgG used either for diagnostic purpose or intravenous application (in form of IVIG) in various medical therapies is certainly gaining more and more attention on annual basis. Different manufacturing processes are used to isolate immunoglobulins from human plasma. However, a quest for alternative paths in IgG isolation not only requires development of the most efficient isolation process, but also a rapid and reliable analytics to track the purification. Fast and reliable fingerprint based method for characterization of IgG prepared from Cohn I+II+III paste is presented in this paper. The fingerprint method bases on partial separation of proteins in linear gradient on CIMacTM quaternary amine, strong anion exchange group (QA) 0.1 mL column. Partial separation of proteins does not allow simple quantitative analysis of the samples during the IgG isolation from Cohn I+II+III fraction paste, but very accurate qualitative information about the composition of the sample can be obtained in less than 5 min. From the differences in the chromatograms of various samples, the ratio between IgG and impurities in each sample can be easily assessed. The method is suitable for input material control, in-line monitoring of the downstream processing, final control of the products, as well as in stability studies and enables taking fast and accurate decisions during fractionation process.
Antonio M. Munoz, Paul Yourik, Vaishnavi Rajagopal, Jagpreet S. Nanda, Jon R. Lorsch, Sarah E. Walker
RNA Biology, 2017, VOL. 14, NO. 2, 188–196
In vitro studies of translation provide critical mechanistic details, yet purification of large amounts of highly active eukaryotic ribosomes remains a challenge for biochemists and structural biologists. Here, we present an optimized method for preparation of highly active yeast ribosomes that could easily be adapted for purification of ribosomes from other species. The use of a nitrogen mill for cell lysis coupled with chromatographic purification of the ribosomes results in 10-fold-increased yield and less variability compared with the traditional approach, which relies on sedimentation through sucrose cushions. We demonstrate that these ribosomes are equivalent to those made using the traditional method in a host of in vitro assays, and that utilization of this new method will consistently produce high yields of active yeast ribosomes.
D. Buzzi, A. Štrancar
Chimica Oggi-Chemistry Today; Vol 33(1) January/February 2015
The importance of the monitoring of a process all along its steps by means of PAT has been defined by FDA in 2002. How can be defined the product quality and what are the parameters that should be checked by means of different analysis techniques, being focused in particular on the application of high pressure liquid chromatography techniques (HPLC) as high value tool for the process monitoring. From the first introduction of Process Analytical Technology to the "state of the art": how can be PAT implemented in order to ensure the final product quality.
P. Kramberger, U. Lidija, A. Štrancar
Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 11:4 (2015) 1010-1021
Downstream processing of nanoplexes (viruses, virus-like particles, bacteriophages) is characterized by complexity of the starting material, number of purification methods to choose from, regulations that are setting the frame for the final product and analytical methods for upstream and downstream monitoring. This review gives an overview on the nanoplex downstream challenges and chromatography based analytical methods for efficient monitoring of the nanoplex production.
A. G. Lopes
FBP-461, Food and Bioproducts Processing (2014)
As the biopharmaceutical industry matures, the trend towards increased flexibility and productivity, faster time tomarket and greater profitability are driving the replacement of traditional stainless steel equipment by single-use technology (SUT). The use of SUT in the biopharmaceutical industry can significantly impact the manufacturing process efficiency by reducing capital costs, improving plant flexibility, reducing start-up times and costs, and elim-inating both non-value added process steps and the risk of cross-contamination. In addition it significantly reduces process liquid waste, labour costs and on-site quality and validation requirements. This paper reviews the current status of the technology and the impact of SUT in the biopharmaceutical industry, with the aim of identifying the challenges and limitations that still need to be addressed for further adoption of these technologies. Even tough SUT has a multitude of systems available, its components and assemblies have little standardisation as well as alack of harmonised tests and procedures among suppliers, with an array of guidelines from a variety of sourcesand no critical limits have been established. In addition, the use of SUT has new validation requirements such as leachables and extractables, suppliers’ qualification and SUT lot-to-lot variability. The lack of expertise in these areas and the new training requirements when using SUT also need to be addressed. To date the majority of the avail-able literature regarding SUT is found in trade journals where typically suppliers are the main contributors. There is still a lack of engagement of the academic community, which contributes to very limited scientific proof from independent peer-reviewed research to support performance of SUT. This is particularly the case during operation and integrity testing of SUT, during for example on-site testing, transport and disposal. Another area where no work has been undertaken concerns conceptual approaches for facility clean-room requirement and appropriate layout design using SUT. Investment in novel technologies, research, standardisation and training is paramount for further development and implementation of SUTs across all sectors of the biopharmaceutical industry.
A. A. Shukla, U. Gottschalk
Trends in Biotechnology (2012) 1-8
The manufacture of protein biopharmaceuticals is conducted under current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) and involves multiple unit operations for upstream production and downstream purification. Until recently, production facilities relied on the use of relatively inflexible, hard-piped equipment including large stainless steel bioreactors and tanks to hold product intermediates and buffers. However, there is an increasing trend towards the adoption of single-use technologies across the manufacturing process. Technical advances have now made an end-to-end single-use manufacturing facility possible, but several aspects of single-use technology require further improvement and are continually evolving. This article provides a perspective on the current state-of-the-art in single-use technologies and highlights trends that will improve performance and increase the market penetration of disposable manufacturing in the future.
M. Li, Y. X. Qiu
Vaccine 31 (2013) 1264-1267
An effective downstream bio-processing of vaccine products requires complete chemical knowledge of the contaminants that may arise from a given vector expression system. Whether the vaccine is made from the traditional egg-based or the new cell-cultured process, it is the expression system that determines the types of impurities that need to be identified and removed from the vaccine product.
There are mechanical and chemical factors that can either reduce the yield or render a vaccine product to be irreversibly inactive. The choice of equipment and solvents is therefore important in minimizing product loss, and for maintaining an efficient and optimized manufacturing process.
The frequent out-of-specification, irreproducible data and inefficiency in the manufacturing of biologics were the basis for FDA to propose the “cGMP for the 21st Century” initiative in the year of 2000. Effective 2004, the concept of quality by design (QbD) has been imposed in the manufacturing of biologics. To facilitate the implementation of QbD FDA has encouraged the use of process analytical technology (PAT). Further, FDA believes that an optimized manufacturing scheme requires one to identify and to control the variables that can negatively affect the yield and quality of the desired product, and PAT can reveal wrongful data and alert the operator for immediate correction during processing.
E. Maksimova, E. Vlakh, E. Sinitsyna, T. Tennikova
J. Sep. Sci. 2013, 36, 3741–3749
Ultrashort monolithic columns (disks) were thoroughly studied as efficient stationary phases for precipitation–dissolution chromatography of synthetic polymers. Gradient elution mode was applied in all chromatographic runs. The mixtures of different flexible chain homopolymers, such as polystyrenes, poly(methyl methacrylates), and poly(tert-butylmethacrylates) were separated according to their molecular weights on both commercial poly(styrene-co divinylbenzene).
disks (12 id × 3 mm and 5 × 5 mm) and lab-made monolithic columns (4.6 id × 50 mm) filled with supports of different hydrophobicity. The experimental conditions were optimized to reach fast and highly efficient separation. It was observed that, similar to the separation of monoliths of other classes of (macro)molecules (proteins, DNA, oligonucleotides), the length of column did not affect the peak resolution.
A comparison of the retention properties of the poly(styrene-co-divinylbenzene) diskshaped monoliths with those based on poly(lauryl methacrylate-co-ethylene dimethacrylate), poly(butyl methacrylate-co-ethylene dimethacrylate), and poly(glycidyl methacrylate-co-ethylene dimethacrylate) supports demonstrated the obvious effect of surface chemistry on the resolution factor. Additionally, the results of the discussed chromatographic mode on the fast determination of the molecular weights of homopolymers used in this study were compared to those established by SEC on columns packed with sorbent beads of a similar nature to the monoliths.
Roy N D‘Souza, Ana M Azevedo, M Raquel Aires-Barros, Nika Lendero Krajnc, Petra Kramberger, Maria Laura Carbajal, Mariano Grasselli, Roland Meyer & Marcelo Fernández-Lahore
Vol. 1, No. 5, Pharmaceutical Bioprocessing (2013)
Downstream processing is currently the major bottleneck for bioproduct generation. In contrast to the advances in fermentation processes, the tools used for downstream processes have struggled to keep pace in the last 20 years. Purification bottlenecks are quite serious, as these processes can account for up to 80% of the total production cost. Coupled with the emergence of new classes of bioproducts, for example, virus-like particles or plasmidic DNA, this has created a great need for superior alternatives. In this review, improved downstream technologies, including aqueous two-phase systems, expanded bed adsorption chromatography, convective flow systems, and fibre-based adsorbent systems, have been discussed. These adaptive methods are more suited to the burgeoning downstream processing needs of the future, enabling the cost-efficient production of new classes biomaterials with a high degree of purity, and thereby hold the promise to become indispensable tools in the pharmaceutical and food industries.
J. Lee, H. T. Gan, S. M. Abdul Latiff , C. Chuah, W. Y. Lee, Y.-S. Yang, B. Loo, S. K. Ng, P. Gagnon
Journal of Chromatography A, 1270 (2012) 162-170
We introduce a chromatography method for purification of large proteins and viruses that works by capturing them at a non-reactive hydrophilic surface by their mutual steric exclusion of polyethylene glycol (PEG). No direct chemical interaction between the surface and the target species is required. We refer to the technique as steric exclusion chromatography. Hydroxyl-substituted polymethacrylate monoliths provide a hydrophilic surface and support convective mass transport that is unaffected by the viscosity of the PEG. Elution is achieved by reducing PEG concentration. Selectivity correlates with molecular size, with larger species retained more strongly than smaller species. Retention increases with PEG size and concentration. Salts weaken retention in proportion to their concentration and Hofmeister ranking. Retention is enhanced near the isoelectric point of the target species. Virus binding capacity was measured at 9.9 × 1012 plaque forming units per mL of monolith. 99.8% of host cell proteins and 93% of DNA were eliminated. Mass recovery exceeded 90%. IgM capacity was greater than 60 mg/mL. 95% of host cell proteins were eliminated from IgM produced in protein-free media, and mass recovery was up to 90%. Bioactivity was fully conserved by both viruses and antibodies. Process time ranged from less than 30 min to 2 h depending on the product concentration in the feed stream.
Journal of Chromatography A, 1221 (2012) 57-70(2012) 57-70
This article reviews technology trends in antibody purification. Section 1 discusses non-chromatography methods, including precipitation, liquid–liquid extraction, and high performance tangential flow filtration. The second addresses chromatography methods. It begins with discussion of fluidized and fixed bed formats. It continues with stationary phase architecture: diffusive particles, perfusive particles, membranes and monoliths. The remainder of the section reviews recent innovations in size exclusion, anion exchange, cation exchange, hydrophobic interaction, immobilized metal affinity, mixed-mode, and bioaffinity chromatography. Section 3 addresses an emerging trend of formulating process buffers to prevent or correct anomalies in the antibodies being purified. Methods are discussed for preventing aggregate formation, dissociating antibody-contaminant complexes, restoring native antibody from aggregates, and conserving or restoring native disulfide pairing.
ChemieXtra 3/2012 pp 30-33
Sartorius BIA Separations produziert und vertreibt kurze monolithischen Chromatografiesäulen, die auf der CIM-Convective Interaction Media-Technologie basieren. CIM-Säulen eignen sich vor allem für die Reinigung von grossen Biomolekülen wie etwa Viren (virale Vektoren und Impfstoffe), DNA (Plasmid-DNA) und grössere Proteine (Immunglobuline G und M, pegylierte Proteine). Sie weisen einzigartige Eigenschaften in Bezug auf operative Flussraten, Adsorptionsfähigkeit und Trennung grosser Biomoleküle auf. Die Säulen werden in Forschung, Labor, Pilot- und industriellen Produktionsstufen eingesetzt und sind extrem einfach zu handhaben.