Purification and Analytics of a Monoclonal Antibody from Chinese Hamster Ovary Cells Using an Automated Microbioreactor System

This article has been accepted and is currently in production


Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are one of the most popular and well-characterized biological products manufactured today. Most commonly produced using Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, culture and process conditions must be optimized to maximize antibody titers and achieve target quality profiles. Typically, this optimization uses automated microscale bioreactors (15 mL) to screen multiple process conditions in parallel. Optimization criteria include culture performance and the critical quality attributes (CQAs) of the monoclonal antibody (mAb) product, which may impact its efficacy and safety. Culture performance metrics include cell growth and nutrient consumption, while the CQAs include the mAb's N-glycosylation and aggregation profiles, charge variants, and molecular weight. This detailed protocol describes how to purify and subsequently analyze HCCF samples produced by an automated microbioreactor system to gain valuable performance metrics and outputs. First, an automated protein A fast protein liquid chromatography (FPLC) method is used to purify the mAb from harvested cell culture samples. Once concentrated, the glycan profiles are analyzed by mass spectrometry using a specific platform (refer to the Table of Materials). Antibody molecular weights and aggregation profiles are determined using size exclusion chromatography-multiple angle light scattering (SEC-MALS), while charge variants are analyzed using microchip capillary zone electrophoresis (mCZE). In addition to the culture performance metrics captured during the bioreactor process (i.e., culture viability, cell counts, and common metabolites including glutamine, glucose, lactate, and ammonia), spent media is analyzed to identify limiting nutrients to improve the feeding strategies and overall process design. Therefore, a detailed protocol for the absolute quantification of amino acids by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) of spent media is also described. The methods used in this protocol take advantage of high-throughput platforms that are compatible for large numbers of small-volume samples.