75 episodes

The Cell Culture Dish (CCD) podcast covers areas important to the research, discovery, development, and manufacture of disease and biologic therapeutics. Key industry coverage areas include: drug discovery and development, stem cell research, cell and gene therapy, recombinant antibodies, vaccines, and emerging therapeutic modalities.

Cell Culture Dish Podcast Brandy Sargent

    • Science
    • 4.9 • 11 Ratings

The Cell Culture Dish (CCD) podcast covers areas important to the research, discovery, development, and manufacture of disease and biologic therapeutics. Key industry coverage areas include: drug discovery and development, stem cell research, cell and gene therapy, recombinant antibodies, vaccines, and emerging therapeutic modalities.

    How Real Time Titer Measurement And Monitoring Is Advancing Bioproduction Across Multiple Applications

    How Real Time Titer Measurement And Monitoring Is Advancing Bioproduction Across Multiple Applications


    This panel discussion was originally published in the eBook

    “ Monoclonal Antibody Manufacturing Trends, Challenges, and Analytical Solutions to Eliminate Bioprocessing Bottlenecks”

    You can download all the articles in the series, by downloading the eBook.


    Panel discussion members:

    Carrie Mason - Associate Director, R&D at Lonza Biologics

    Laura Madia - Independent Industry Consultant

    Alan Opper – Director of HaLCon Sales at RedShiftBio

    David Sloan, PhD – Senior Vice President, Life Sciences at RedShiftBio

    Brandy Sargent, Editor in-chief, Cell Culture Dish and Downstream Column (Moderator)

    In this panel discussion, we talked with industry experts about antibody process development and manufacturing. Specifically focusing on current antibody titer expectations, analytical challenges and how real time titer measurement is a game changer for bioproduction moving forward.

    Where is the industry at today with titer expectations and what are the best practices for measuring titer?

    Laura Madia

    With respect to expectations regarding titer over the years, what we’ve seen is a need for increased titer

    within the upstream development of a drug. As an industry, we have moved from the 80s where titers were closer

    to .2 to .5 grams per liter to the early 2000s where concentrations of titer production rose to 3 to 5 grams per

    liter. What we see today is a continued increase in titer concentrations, which creates a challenge to make sure

    that you have technologies that can accurately measure titer concentration without introducing any errors.

    The other thing that we have seen within the industry is the need for more data to not only understand what is

    happening in the tank, but also to be able to make decisions about the product as the process is running or

    shortly after.

    Lastly, it is important to consider people and resources. It has been exacerbated by COVID, but it is difficult

    to find people to work within the industry and there are fewer people within a production suite. This has helped

    to drive the need for online and remote monitoring and automation to make it easier to get the necessary


    David Sloan

    To follow up on the lack of workers, one of the things that we constantly hear from the customers we are

    working with is that training employees can be a real challenge and a very time-intensive process. Technologies

    that are easier to use and require less expertise help get people up and running and minimize errors amongst new

    users of a technology.

    Laura Madia

    As for the current best practices for measuring titer, HPLC is the gold standard. But HPLC presents some

    challenges including training and HPLC requires a highly skilled person to get accurate results. There is a need

    for something that is simple and easy to use when it comes to measuring titer. You will still need HPLC results

    for approval and decisions at the end, but to be able to monitor titer throughout the process is important.

    What are the challenges associated with the way that titer is measured today and what can we do as an industry

    to improve?

    Laura Madia

    One of the challenges is that most of the assays available today are batch processes, so that lends itself to

    providing a retrospective look and means that most people don’t run samples throughout the process. This is

    because most people save these tests until the end when they can run a batch and make it more cost effective,

    and it is typically a long time to result so running it during the process isn’t helpful. Systems today are more

    for batch process and are not set up for at-line measurement,

    • 40 min
    Advancements in Buffer Management and Single Use Inline Buffer Formulation

    Advancements in Buffer Management and Single Use Inline Buffer Formulation

    In this podcast, we spoke with Nainesh Shah, Senior Application Engineer at Asahi Kasei Bioprocess about buffer management including the benefits of inline buffer formulation, and single use inline buffer formulation systems.  

    Buffer Management 

    We started the podcast by talking about how critical buffer management is to bioprocessing. Mr. Shah discussed how buffers are required in large quantities during the biomanufacturing process and that traditionally buffers were made in large tanks, stored, and used as needed. However, now real estate in the bioprocessing industry is at a premium and companies are looking to utilize new technologies that can reduce facility footprint. For buffer management, it makes sense to create buffer on demand to reduce the footprint dedicated to buffer production in the past.  

    Inline buffer formulation is a hot topic with companies who require a large quantity of buffer because it provides a way to create buffer on demand in a much smaller footprint. The interesting thing is that it is now also a hot topic among small R&D scale buffer users as well. Inline buffer formulation systems are ideal for users who need 200 to 500 liters of buffer at a time. The system takes the concentrate and adds clean water to provide just the right amount of buffer on demand. Another benefit of inline buffer formulation is that you can achieve a quick process changeover and move on to the next buffer formulation without spending valuable time cleaning the tank, taking samples, and readjusting the critical parameters.  

    Recently, any new manufacturer, whether it's a large scale or small scale tends to move into this field of buffer management and operates one or two Inline Buffer Formulation (IBF) systems like the MOTIV™. They then use these systems to make all sorts of buffers needed for their various processes. 

    The MOTIV Family of Inline Buffer Formulation Systems

    Next, I asked Nainesh if he could talk a bit more about the MOTIV family of inline buffer formulation and fluid management systems that Asahi Kasei Bioprocess America (AKBA) offers. He explained how the award-winning MOTIV family has evolved into a series of inline buffer formulation systems designed to help companies move past downstream bottlenecks by driving buffer productivity. The product family includes 3-pump, 5-pump, and custom IBF configurations that can fit most any space, cost, or performance requirements. The MOTIV is a leader in buffer production with a range of scale from 4,500 liters per hour to 10 liters per minute to fit an entire range of volume requirements. 

    He went on to say that they have added a new feature where MOTIV can fill up bags with buffer and monitor the quantity in the bag to make buffer on demand even easier.  


    Then we talked about the new MOTIV SU, a single use inline buffer formulation system, built to produce complex buffers on-demand effectively and efficiently, all from one pump head, and without the need for CIP/SIP procedures between batches. The innovative design modulates flow through control valves while simultaneously integrating buffer solutions and mixing. As with all the MOTIV systems, OCELOT System Control ensures precise blends every time, controlled by pH and conductivity feedback or flow. 

    The MOTIV SU is perfect for a biomanufacturer who does not want to spend time with cleaning and validation. It is great for one time use as it does not require time spent in cleaning, validation, and making sure that it is free of all the contaminants and all the buffers which may be harmful for the next process. Another benefit would be if a biomanufacturer used a buffer which had a chemical or ingredient which would be problematic for other processes, and they wanted to eliminate any risk of contamination.  

    Since the MOTIV SU has replaceable parts, which come as a pre-built unit,

    • 15 min
    Executing Efficient Scale-up and Large-Scale Viral Vector Manufacturing

    Executing Efficient Scale-up and Large-Scale Viral Vector Manufacturing

    In this podcast, we spoke with Margherita Neri, Director of Vector Process Development, Milan Site at AGC Biologics, Andrew Laskowski, Global Product Manager Bioreactors at Cytiva and Andreia Pedregal, Upstream Applications Specialist Manager at Cytiva about large-scale viral vector manufacturing. Our conversation included discussions around scalability, AAV (adeno-associated virus) and lentivirus production platforms, adherent culture, and next generation bioreactor improvements.

    I began the interview by asking Margherita about her work at AGC Biologics. She explained that as the Director of the Vector Process Development Unit, her team is responsible for process development of large scale viral vector production for gene therapy applications. Her team is also the first point of contact for new clients.

    Next, we talked about the types of viral vector platforms that AGC Biologics operates. Margherita described that at their Milan site, they offer AAV (adeno associated virus) and lentiviral vector production platforms in adhesion and in suspension, at 50-to-200-liter scale with expansion planned for up to 1,000 liters.

    I then asked her about some of the differences between adherent cell culture and suspension cell culture paths to commercial manufacturing. Margherita said that the first consideration is that most clinical trials in gene therapy have been sustained with vector produced from adherent cells, typically via processes performed using Cell Factory™ or Cell STACK®. Now that those gene therapy products are being commercialized, manufacturers need to increase scale and demonstrate comparability using a minimal comparability exercise. So, systems that allow adherent scale up are very useful in this process.

    Suspension processes are appealing from a scalability point of view because historically they were used for traditional protein bioproductions which can be scaled up to 20,000 – 30,000 liters. Of course, this scale still needs to be demonstrated for vector production that is performed mainly using transient transfection at 200-500 liter scale for lentivirus and between 500-to-1,000-liter maximum scale for AAV. Margherita went on to say that another important aspect in comparability between adherent and suspension systems is quality of the vector in terms of impurity profiles. She said that with adherent processes, cells are attached to the growth support, and the levels of host cell protein and cell DNA are lower when compared to suspension processes. This is very important for lentiviral vector production that is used in vivo where the requirements for impurity levels are very challenging, especially considering that for lentiviral vectors there is currently no affinity step for purification.

    I followed up by asking her how AGC Biologics can help customers that want to stay in adherent culture to scale up from current processes, for instance, from flatware to larger-scale production. She explained that when customers ask for a scale increase, they usually offer the iCELLis™ platform. First, they demonstrate at small scale the feasibility of the transition from flatware to the iCELLis bioreactor using the iCELLis Nano bioreactor. Using the iCELLis Nano bioreactor, AGC Biologics has developed a full upstream and downstream process that is highly representative of their process using the full-scale iCELLis bioreactor.

    AGC Biologics can then propose that customers use the vector produced in the iCELLis scale-down model to perform a comparability study between a clinical vector and the future commercial or large-scale vector. This comparability should be based not only on the comparison of titers, residuals, and all the CQA, but also AGC Biologics suggests performing a test of cell transduction on the target cells (i.e. CD34 or T cells) and evaluation on these cells of transfection efficiency – vector copy number,

    • 17 min
    Advancements in Cell and Gene Therapy Stirred-Tank Bioreactor Suspension Culture

    Advancements in Cell and Gene Therapy Stirred-Tank Bioreactor Suspension Culture

    In this podcast, we talked with Dr. Ma Sha, Head of Bioprocess Applications at Eppendorf SE about advancements and challenges in cell and gene therapy production along with solutions for scale up and transition to stirred-tank bioreactor suspension culture.

    We began the interview by talking about the biggest advancements in cell and gene therapy, including CAR T-cell therapy development, clinical results and FDA approvals. Another area of great advancement is induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) Culture technique. Dr. Sha explained that it used to be very difficult to culture iPSCs until it was possible to culture iPSC suspension spheres in stirred-tank bioreactors, which was a big breakthrough in the cell and gene therapy area.

    I followed up by asking Dr. Sha what he sees as the major challenges in the development and production of cell and gene therapies that still need to be addressed. He said that one of the major breakthroughs has been the autologous therapies that have been approved, particularly CAR T-cell therapies. However, this has also been a major challenge, because the autologous model is not cost effective. As a result, there has been a shift toward developing allogeneic therapies and building this production model will be a major challenge moving forward. Another challenge on the manufacturing side is ensuring to follow Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), as it has been a common request from cell and gene therapy companies.

    Next, I asked him about the move from 2D to 3D culture and his experiences with this transition. Dr. Sha shared that several of the projects that Eppendorf bioprocess works on start as 2D culture in flasks, it is a natural place to start for most of the cell lines since they are attachment cells. They must then be converted into suspension culture to enable 3D culture, since 2D culture significantly limits the yield and productivity. He went on to say that if you look back at the evolution of antibody production, it was important to convert production to suspension cell culture and this is also necessary for the cell and gene therapy field. Moving from 2D to 3D culture and especially utilizing stirred-tank bioreactors enables much higher yields. As it stands, the yield for cellular therapy cell production is fairly low, especially compared to the industry standard of CHO cells used for antibody production, so a lot of improvement needs to happen.

    We then discussed stirred-tank bioreactors and their increased use in cell and gene therapy development and production. I asked Dr. Sha what are the key factors that developers should consider when choosing stirred-tank bioreactors. He explained that stirred-tank bioreactors fit the model of allogeneic production. Autologous models are not suitable for stirred-tank bioreactors. Developer companies need to keep in mind that if they want to move to stirred tank bioreactor platform, they need the production model to be allogeneic. In addition, it is important to consider the support available with respect to scaling up and leveraging supplier experience. For example, Eppendorf bioprocess over the years has produced many application notes to help customers scale their manufacturing. They have even built model production systems in Eppendorf stirred-tank bioreactors. The program called “Scale up Assist” allows customers to skip much of the difficult calculations required to achieve reproducible yields when moving from smaller to larger vessels.

    Eppendorf has a very long history of working in protein-based therapeutic cell culture production and about ten years ago expanded to include cell and gene therapy. I asked Dr. Sha in his experiences, what are the most important takeaways in terms of areas that still need work and advancements on the horizon. For instance, what can we learn from protein-based therapy cell culture to apply to cell and gene therapy production?

    • 8 min
    Sangamo’s gene therapy product candidate for Fabry disease shows continued tolerability and promise as an alternative to Enzyme Replacement Therapy

    Sangamo’s gene therapy product candidate for Fabry disease shows continued tolerability and promise as an alternative to Enzyme Replacement Therapy

    In this podcast, we talked with Nathalie Dubois-Stringfellow, Senior Vice President of Product Development and Management at Sangamo about Sangamo’s work in gene therapy and the latest data on Sangamo’s gene therapy product candidate for Fabry disease.

    I began the interview by asking Nathalie if she could talk about Sangamo and the company’s pipeline. She explained that Sangamo is a genomic medicine company dedicated to translating groundbreaking science into medicine. Their technology includes gene therapy, genome editing, and cell therapy.

    Their zinc finger nucleus platform allows them to edit genes either by adding genes, deleting genes, repairing mutation, repressing the expression of the gene, or activating. It is a vast area of technology that they can apply to a variety of diseases.

    Using their breakthrough technology, they were the first to edit human genes, treat patients with gene edited T cells, treat patients with in vivo genome editing, and treat patients with engineered T cells.

    Our current clinical focus is on Fabry disease, a rare genetic disease and Hemophilia A sickle cell disease.

    She then described their recent clinical data on ST-920, a gene therapy product candidate for Fabry disease, that continues to be generally well-tolerated and presents sustained α-Gal A activity based on data from nine patients.

    She said that they were extremely excited about the result of this Phase I-II clinical trial. Fabry disease is an inherited disorder that is caused by mutation of the galactosidase alpha (GLA) genes which leads to deficient alpha-galactosidase A (α-Gal A) enzyme activity. This enzyme normally breaks down a fatty substance called globotriaosylceramide and without this enzyme this fatty substance builds up in the cells throughout the body, particularly in the skin, kidneys, heart, and nervous system.

    The current standard of care for Fabry disease is an intravenous infusion of the missing enzyme, the treatment being called enzyme replacement therapy or ERT. This provides a high concentration of the missing enzyme for a very short time and the treatment has to be repeated in those patient every two weeks. It's a very cumbersome infusion that can take several hours and typically needs to be done in the hospital, thus negatively impacting patient quality of life.

    Sangamo’s approach is a one-time therapy treatment where the gene for the missing enzyme is delivered to the liver cells of the patient, which are then acting as cell factory for producing the missing enzyme.

    Please listen to our full interview using the player above or download on the player using Apple podcasts, Spotify or More.

    • 18 min
    Single-use Mixers – Ensuring the Customization, Scalability and Supply Required for Success

    Single-use Mixers – Ensuring the Customization, Scalability and Supply Required for Success

    In this podcast, we talked with Dennis Hodgson and Phil Sanders from Agilitech about the benefits of single-use mixers, dealing with supply chain concerns, ensuring scalability, and tailoring a mixer to meet specific process needs.

    Benefits of Single-use Mixers

    We began the podcast by talking about the overall benefits of single-use technologies for mixing. Dennis explained that single-use mixers are very versatile and can be used to replace stainless steel vessels within the manufacturing area. Single-use mixers all have the same advantages of other single use components, such as coming fully sterile and eliminating the need to steam and clean in place.

    Dennis went on to say that another big advantage that single-use mixers have over stainless steel is the ability to customize. For example, a 500 L single-use mixer can be used with a virtually unlimited array of customized vessel configurations, which would include the inlet outlet, port configurations, sampling ports, vent filters, and various process analytics that can be added.

    Next, we talked about adoption of single-use technology for mixing and possible concerns that customers might have. Dennis shared that a big concern recently has been supply chain shortages that have created limited availability and long lead times for single-use consumables. He said that he has heard from some clients that they have had to skip planned production batches because the single use bags that they needed to process the batch were not available. Phil added that supply chain concerns have caused some of their clients to think about moving to stainless steel systems to avoid any production delays.

    Single-use Technologies Supply Chain Challenges

    I followed up by asking what could be done to address single use supply chain issues moving forward. Dennis explained that Agilitech has the luxury of not being tied to any one supplier, so they can source from multiple vendors. This allows them the flexibility to move between vendors and load projects based on their capacity and lead times. This also allows them to make sure that they are offering competitive pricing because vendors know that they're not the sole source of a component.

    Ensuring Flexibility in Single-use Mixing

    We then talked about mixers presenting unique challenges in that they are used for a variety of applications with many different demands. I asked how Agilitech can ensure that their single-use mixer has the flexibility needed for multiple applications. Dennis explained that because Agilitech isn’t tied to a single design, they are able to have conversations with the client to customize a solution for their needs. Their main goal is to make a product that meets the needs of the individual companies and their process. Additionally, they design their systems purposefully to handle many different capabilities such as sampling, analytical measurements, weight measurements, temperature control, etc. Because they use standard control hardware, their mixing vessels can easily be integrated into existing control systems such as Delta V or Wonderware through the available Ethernet IP connection. This allows users to read and write to certain control parameters.

    I then asked about which options are available for customization on the single-use mixers. Dennis said that they can customize all the inlet and outlet ports with regards to port size, tubing length, connector type, etc. As far as the mixing units themselves go, they can be jacketed or not, have load cells or not, have probe analytics such as pH, conductivity, temperature, DOE, and optical density, so all those different analytical devices can be incorporated as well.

    Phil added that if there are specific standards within an organization, for what control systems need to be installed on these systems Agilitech is flexible with Rockwell, Delta V, Siemens,

    • 10 min

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