Matrix effects during monitoring of antibody and host cell proteins using attenuated total reflection spectroscopy



Production of recombinant proteins, e.g. antibodies, requires constant real-time monitoring to optimize yield and quality attributes and to respond to changing production conditions, such as host cell protein (HCP) titers. To date, this monitoring of mammalian cell culture-based processes is done using laborious and time consuming enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), two-dimensional sodium dodecylsulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, and chromatography-based systems. Measurements are usually performed off-line, requiring regular sample withdrawal associated with increased contamination risk. As information is obtained retrospectively, the reaction time to adapt to process changes is too long, leading to lower yield and higher costs. To address the resulting demand for continuous online-monitoring systems, we present a feasibility study using attenuated total reflection spectroscopy (ATR) to monitor mAb and HCP levels of NS0 cell culture in situ, taking matrix effects into account. Fifty-six NS0 cell culture samples were treated with polyelectrolytes for semi-selective protein precipitation. Additionally, part of the samples was subjected to filtration prior to analysis, to change the background matrix and evaluate effects on chemometric quantification models. General models to quantify HCP and mAb in both filtered and unfiltered matrix showed lower prediction accuracy compared to models designed for a specific matrix. HCP quantification in the range of 2,000–55,000 ng mL−1 using specific models was accurate for most samples, with results within the accepted limit of an ELISA assay. In contrast, mAb prediction was less accurate, predicting mAb in the range of 0.2–1.7 g L−1. As some samples deviated substantially from reference values, further investigations elucidating the suitability of ATR for monitoring are required. © 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2013