Lowering cost and increasing speed of biologics production

Lowering cost and increasing speed of biologics production

With protocols for bioprocessing firmly established, there is an increasing focus on reducing the cost of producing biologics, biosimilars, mABs, and other modern medicines requiring bioreactions. Producing these pharmaceuticals promises to revolutionize treatment of many difficult diseases, especially modern scourges that have been resistant to small molecule-based therapies. Focus on cost reduction and improved speed has centered on two promising developments: single-use and continuous bioreactors.

Single-use bioreactors

Single use bioreactors lower costs by reducing the time and materials for sterilization and cleaning between production runs. In a conventional bioreactor, all material in contact with the bioreaction requires extensive and thorough cleaning and sterilization to prevent contamination.

These processes in turn require extensive use of corrosion-resistant stainless steel and other resistant elastomers and materials. The extensive use of these costly materials is a major driver in construction cost for new facilities. Single use bioreactors, by contrast, use disposable bags to contain biomass during the reaction. Rather than sterilization, many of the components of these systems can simply be discarded in between runs, reducing initial material costs and time required in between batches.

Fast, flexible, and affordable mass flow control

Continuous bioreactors have been described as the “holy grail” of biologic production. While these reactors are still a developing technology, they offer the exciting promise of extending production times from weeks/ months to months/years. As with single use reactors, this would minimize the need for sterilization and greatly reduce the cost per run.

For this promise to be realized, homeostasis needs to be achieved by extremely accurate and responsive control of conditions within the reactor. Alicat mass flow controllers can be used to help overcome this challenge by providing extremely accurate, responsive gas flow control:

  • Accuracy as good as 0.1% of full scale
  • Repeatability of ± 0.02% of full scale

Alicat further meets the challenge of these systems by offering fast, flexible mass flow control at an affordable price.

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