The potential of viral contamination is a regulatory concern for continuous cell line-derived pharmaceutical proteins. Complementary and redundant safety steps, including an evaluation of the viral clearance capacity of unit operations in the purification process, are performed prior to registration and marketing of biotechnology pharmaceuticals. Because process refinement is frequently beneficial, CBER/FDA has published guidance facilitating process improvement by delineating specific instances where the bracketing and generic approaches are appropriate for virus removal validation. In this study, a generic/matrix study was performed using Q-Sepharose Fast Flow (QSFF) chromatography to determine if bracketing and generic validation can be applied to anion exchange chromatography. Key operational parameters were varied to upper and lower extreme values and the impact on viral clearance was assessed using simian virus 40 (SV40) as the model virus. Operational ranges for key chromatography parameters were identified where an SV40 log10 reduction value (LRV) of ≥4.7 log10 is consistently achieved. On the basis of the apparent robustness of SV40 removal by Q-anion exchange chromatography, we propose that the concept of “bracketed generic” validation can be applied to this and potentially other chromatography unit operations. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biotechnol Bioeng 84: 179–186, 2003.