• batch incubation;
  • chromatography;
  • design of experiments;
  • filter plate;
  • high throughput;
  • microscale;
  • miniature columns;
  • pipette tips;
  • Quality by Design


Demands within the pharmaceutical sector to cut costs and improve process efficiencies have grown considerably in recent years. Major challenges exist for companies trying to establish financially viable and robust manufacturing processes for increasingly complex therapeutics. These issues have driven the investigation of miniaturised process-design techniques by which to identify suitable operating conditions using small volumes of feed material typical of that available in the early stages of bioprocess development. Such techniques are especially valuable for the optimisation of chromatographic separations, which often represent a significant percentage of manufacturing costs and hence for which there is a pressing need to determine the best operating policies. Several methods employing microlitre volumes of sample and resin have been explored recently, which are aimed at the high-throughput and cost-effective exploration of the design space for chromatographic separations. This methodology paper reviews these microscale approaches and describes how they work, gives examples of their application, discusses their advantages and disadvantages and provides a comparative assessment of the different methods, along with a summary of the challenges that remain to be overcome in relation to these techniques. Copyright © 2009 Society of Chemical Industry