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Abstract

Up to now, the productivity of mammalian cell culture has been perceived as limiting the productivity of the industrial manufacture of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. Dramatic improvements in cell culture performance have changed this picture, and the throughput of antibody purification processes is gaining increasing attention. Although chromatographic separations currently are the centerpiece of antibody purification, mostly due to their high resolving power, it becomes more and more apparent that there may be limitations at the very large scale. This review will discuss a number of alternatives to chromatographic antibody purification, with a particular emphasis on the ability to increase throughput and overcome traditional drawbacks of column chromatography. Specifically, precipitation, membrane chromatography, high-resolution ultrafiltration, crystallization, and high-pressure refolding will be evaluated as potential large scale unit operations for industrial antibody production.