High Recovery Chromatographic Purification of mRNA at Room Temperature and Neutral pH

Miklavčič, Rok, Polona Megušar, Špela Meta Kodermac, Blaž Bakalar, Darko Dolenc, Rok Sekirnik, Aleš Štrancar, and Urh Černigoj

International Journal of Molecular Sciences 24, no. 18: 14267

Messenger RNA (mRNA) is becoming an increasingly important therapeutic modality due to its potential for fast development and platform production. New emerging RNA modalities, such as circular RNA, drive the need for the development of non-affinity purification approaches. Recently, the highly efficient chromatographic purification of mRNA was demonstrated with multimodal monolithic chromatography media (CIM® PrimaS), where efficient mRNA elution was achieved with an ascending pH gradient approach at pH 10.5. Here, we report that a newly developed chromatographic material enables the elution of mRNA at neutral pH and room temperature. This material demonstrates weak anion-exchanging properties and an isoelectric point of 5.3. It enables the baseline separation of mRNA (at least up to 10,000 nucleotides (nt) in size) from parental plasmid DNA (regardless of isoform composition) with both a NaCl gradient and ascending pH gradient approach, while mRNA elution is achieved in a pH range of 5–7. In addition, the basic structure of the novel material is a chromatographic monolith, enabling convection-assisted mass transfer of large RNA molecules to and from the active surface. This facilitates the elution of mRNA in 3–7 column volumes with more than 80% elution recovery and uncompromised integrity. This is demonstrated by the purification of a model mRNA (size 995 nt) from an in vitro transcription reaction mixture. The purified mRNA is stable for at least 34 days, stored in purified H2O at room temperature.

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