A tandem laboratory scale protein purification process using Protein A affinity and anion exchange chromatography operated in a weak partitioning mode


Correspondence to: M. Shamashkin


A significant consequence of scaling up production of high titer monoclonal antibody (mAb) processes in existing facilities is the generation of in-process pools that exceed the capacity of storage vessels. A semi-continuous downstream process where columns and filters are linked and operated in tandem would eliminate the need for intermediate holding tanks. This study is a bench-scale demonstration of the feasibility of a tandem process for the purification of mAbs employing an affinity Protein A capture step, followed by a flow-through anion-exchange (AEX) step with the possibility of adding an in-line virus filtration step (VF). All three steps were linked sequentially and operated as one continuous process using an ÄKTA FPLC equipped with two pumps and a system of valves and bypasses that allowed the components to be engaged at different stages of the process. The AEX column was operated in a weak partitioning (WP) mode enabled by a precise in-line titration of Protein A effluent. In order to avoid complex control schemes and facilitate validation, quality and robustness were built into the system through selection of buffers based on thermodynamic and empirical models. The tandem system utilized the simplest possible combination of valves, pumps, controls, and automation, so that it could easily be implemented in a clinical or commercial production facility. Linking the purification steps in a tandem process is expected to generate savings in time and production costs and also reduce the size of quality systems due to reduced documentation requirements, microbial sampling, and elimination of hold time validation. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2013;110: 2655–2663. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.