Strategy for selecting disposable bags for cell culture media applications based on a root-cause investigation



The use of disposable bags for cell culture media storage has grown significantly in the past decade. Some of the key advantages of using disposable bags relative to non-disposable containers include increased product throughput, decreased cleaning validation costs, reduced risk of cross contamination and lower facility costs. As the scope of use of disposable bags for cell culture applications increases, problematic bags and scenarios should be identified and addressed to continue improving disposables technologies and meet the biotech industry's needs. In this article, we examine a cell culture application wherein media stored in disposable bags is warmed at 37°C before use for cell culture operations. A problematic bag film was identified through a prospective and retrospective cell culture investigation. The investigation provided information on the scope and variation of the issue with respect to different Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell lines, cell culture media, and application-specific parameters. It also led to the development of application-specific test methods and enabled a strategy for disposable bag film testing. The strategy was implemented for qualifying an alternative bag film for use in our processes. In this test strategy, multiple lots of 13 bag film types, encompassing eight vendors were evaluated using a three round, cell culture-based test strategy. The test strategy resulted in the determination of four viable bag film options based on the technical data. The results of this evaluation were used to conclude that a volatile or air-quenched compound, likely generated by gamma irradiation of the problematic bag film, negatively impacted cell culture performance. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 29:1535–1549, 2013