Continuous purification of antibodies from cell culture supernatant with aqueous two-phase systems: From concept to process



An aqueous two-phase extraction (ATPE) process based on a PEG/phosphate system was developed for the capture of human immunoglobulin G and successfully applied to a Chinese hamster ovary and a PER.C6® cell supernatant. A continuous ATPE process incorporating three different steps (extraction, back-extraction, and washing) was set up and validated in a pump mixer-settler battery. Most of the higher molecular weight cell supernatant impurities were removed during the extraction step, while most of the lower molecular weight impurities were removed during the subsequent steps. A global recovery yield of 80% and a final protein purity of more than 99% were obtained for the IgG purification from a CHO cell supernatant, representing a 155-fold reduction in the protein/IgG ratio. For the purification of IgG from a PER.C6® cell supernatant, a global recovery yield of 100%, and a host cell protein purity were attained, representing a 22-fold reduction in the host cell protein/IgG ratio. These results, thus, open promising perspectives for the application of the developed ATPE process as a platform for the capture of antibodies. In fact, this new process has shown the ability to successfully recover and purify different antibodies from distinct cell culture supernatants. This technology can also overcome some of the limitations encountered using the typical chromatographic processes, besides inherent advantages of scalability, process integration, capability of continuous operation, and economic feasibility.