A new mammalian host cell with enhanced survival enables completely serum-free development of high-level protein production cell lines



With over 25 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) currently approved and many more in development, there is considerable interest in gaining improved productivity by increasing cell density and enhancing cell survival of production cell lines. In addition, high costs and growing safety concerns with use of animal products have made the availability of serum-free cell lines more appealing. We elected to transfect the myeloma cell line Sp2/0-Ag14 with Bcl2-EEE, the constitutively active phosphomimetic mutant of Bcl2, for extended cell survival. After adaptation of the initial transfectants to serum-independent growth, a clone with superior growth properties, referred to as SpESF, was isolated and further subjected to iterative rounds of stressful growth over a period of 4 months. The effort resulted in the selection of a promising clone, designated SpESFX-10, which was shown to exhibit robust growth and resist apoptosis induced by sodium butyrate or glutamine deprivation. The advantage of SpESFX-10 as a host for generating mAb-production cell lines was demonstrated by its increased transfection efficiency, culture longevity, and mAb productivity, as well as by the feasibility of accomplishing the entire cell line development process, including transfection, subcloning, and cryopreservation, in the complete absence of serum. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2011