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Keywords:

  • monoclonal antibody;
  • charge variants;
  • at-line monitoring;
  • HPLC;
  • bioreactor

One major challenge currently facing the biopharmaceutical industry is to understand how MAb microheterogeneity affects therapeutic efficacy, potency, immunogenicity, and clearance. MAb micro-heterogeneity can result from post-translational modifications such as sialylation, galactosylation, C-terminal lysine cleavage, glycine amidation, and tryptophan oxidation, each of which can generate MAb charge variants; such heterogeneity can affect pharmacokinetics (PK) considerably. Implementation of appropriate on-line quality control strategies may help to regulate bioprocesses, thus enabling more homogenous material with desired post-translational modifications and PK behavior. However, one major restriction to implementation of quality control strategies is the availability of techniques for obtaining on-line or at-line measurements of these attributes. In this work, we describe the development of an at-line assay to separate MAb charge variants in near real-time, which could ultimately be used to implement on-line quality control strategies for MAb production. The assay consists of a 2D-HPLC method with sequential in-line Protein A and WCX-10 HPLC column steps. To perform the 2D-HPLC assay at-line, the two columns steps were integrated into a single method using a novel system configuration that allowed parallel flow over column 1 or column 2 or sequential flow from column 1 to column 2. A bioreactor system was also developed such that media samples could be removed automatically from bioreactor vessels during production and delivered to the 2D-HPLC for analysis. With this at-line HPLC assay, we have demonstrated that MAb microheterogeneity occurs throughout the cell cycle whether the host cell line is grown under different or the same nominal culture conditions. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 30:249–255, 2014