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Understanding the intracellular effect of enhanced nutrient feeding toward high titer antibody production process

Authors

  • Marcella Yu,

    1. Oceanside Pharma Technical Development, Genentech, Inc., 1 Antibody Way, Oceanside, California 92056; telephone: 760-231-2127; fax: 760-231-245
    Current affiliation:
    1. New Protein Therapeutics, Genzyme Corporation, 49 New York Ave., Framingham, MA 01701.
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  • Zhilan Hu,

    1. Early Stage Cell Culture, U.S. Biologics Pharma Technical Development, Genentech, Inc., South San Francisco, California
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  • Efren Pacis,

    1. Oceanside Pharma Technical Development, Genentech, Inc., 1 Antibody Way, Oceanside, California 92056; telephone: 760-231-2127; fax: 760-231-245
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  • Natarajan Vijayasankaran,

    1. Late Stage Cell Culture, U.S. Biologics Pharma Technical Development, Genentech, Inc., South San Francisco, California
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  • Amy Shen,

    1. Early Stage Cell Culture, U.S. Biologics Pharma Technical Development, Genentech, Inc., South San Francisco, California
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  • Feng Li

    Corresponding author
    1. Oceanside Pharma Technical Development, Genentech, Inc., 1 Antibody Way, Oceanside, California 92056; telephone: 760-231-2127; fax: 760-231-245
    • Oceanside Pharma Technical Development, Genentech, Inc., 1 Antibody Way, Oceanside, California 92056; telephone: 760-231-2127; fax: 760-231-245.
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Abstract

One of the major goals in cell culture process development for therapeutic antibody production is to develop methods to reach high titer in classical fed-batch processes. This goal is often achieved through the optimizations of expression vector, cell line, media and cell culture process controls to increase cell specific productivity, viable cell density, and culture longevity. During process optimization for a selected production cell line, cell specific productivity (qP) can vary significantly with culture conditions. Therefore, identifying strategies to maintain maximal specific productivity throughout the entire fed-batch culture and to eliminate cellular/process bottlenecks that prevent high levels of antibody production would be crucial for further advancements in this area. In this work, specific productivity was increased and maintained at high level throughout the course of the culture by the optimization of feed media and feeding strategy. Through the enhancement of nutrient feeding, final titer was increased by 2.5-fold from the platform fed-batch process and reached 7.5 g/L. In addition, further insight upon possible cellular bottlenecks in high yield antibody production was obtained by comparing the levels of heavy chain (HC) and light chain (LC) mRNA and the levels of intracellular antibody between the non-optimized and optimized feeding processes. The mRNA levels of the two processes were measured and exhibited no significant difference suggesting that transcription is not the bottleneck. When intracellular antibody level was studied, the relatively constant level of HC, LC, and intact antibody between days 9 and 14 suggested that translation could be the rate-limiting step under the non-optimized nutrient feeding condition due to the dramatic drop of qP to roughly zero which correlated with the depletion of tyrosine as one of the key amino acids for protein synthesis. Finally, accumulation of unassembled HC but not intact antibody was observed at days 14–18 under the enhanced feeding condition, implying that folding and assembly may be the bottleneck toward the end of the culture. Bioeng. 2011; 108:1078–1088. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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