• Cation exchange purification;
  • Downstream processing;
  • Magnetic particles;
  • Monoclonal antibody;
  • Stimuli-responsive


Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are important therapeutic proteins. One of the challenges facing large-scale production of monoclonal antibodies is the capacity bottleneck in downstream processing, which can be circumvented by using magnetic stimuli-responsive polymer nanoparticles. In this work, stimuli-responsive magnetic particles composed of a magnetic poly(methyl methacrylate) core with a poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-co-acrylic acid) (P(NIPAM-co-AA)) shell cross-linked with N, N'-methylenebisacrylamide were prepared by miniemulsion polymerization. The particles were shown to have an average hydrodynamic diameter of 317 nm at 18°C, which decreased to 277 nm at 41°C due to the collapse of the thermo-responsive shell. The particles were superparamagnetic in behavior and exhibited a saturation magnetization of 12.6 emu/g. Subsequently, we evaluated the potential of these negatively charged stimuli-responsive magnetic particles in the purification of a monoclonal antibody from a diafiltered CHO cell culture supernatant by cation exchange. The adsorption of antibodies onto P(NIPAM-co-AA)-coated nanoparticles was highly selective and allowed for the recovery of approximately 94% of the mAb. Different elution strategies were employed providing highly pure mAb fractions with host cell protein (HCP) removal greater than 98%. By exploring the stimuli-responsive properties of the particles, shorter magnetic separation times were possible without significant differences in product yield and purity.