The total operating costs of small-scale monoclonal antibody production were calculated for two different upstream options and general downstream procedure based on protein A chromatography. The upstream options were a spin-filter equipped stirred-tank bioreactor (STR) and a hollow fiber bioreactor (HFB). Both the bioreactors were operated in perfusion mode. The total operating costs of the processes were 6,900 €/g for STR option and 6,400 €/g for the HFB option. In the both systems, the costs were dominated by expenses derived from the downstream section (almost 80%) that was almost identical in the both systems. In the upstream section, the investment depreciation was the largest cost item. The lower total costs of the HFB option were a result of lower investment costs and more concentrated product that led into savings also in downstream section. This study brings out the HFB as on viable alternative for stirred-tank bioreactor, especially in small-scale diagnostic monoclonal antibody production. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2011