Biopharmaceuticals are therapeutics derived from biological sources; they are a promising and growing trend in the treatment of diseases. In contrast to their synthetic counterparts, biopharmaceuticals are much more specific and targeted and therefore have fewer side effects. Furthermore, they do not merely treat the symptoms of diseases but can treat the diseases at their cause. Biopharmaceuticals include proteins, cells, antibodies, and nucleic acids; the first FDA-approved biopharmaceutical for therapeutic use was human recombinant insulin.
Biopharmaceuticals can be produced with microorganisms and adherent or suspended mammalian or insect cells. Adherent cells are typically cultured in systems such as roller bottles, t-flasks, and packed bed bioreactors, while microorganisms and suspended cells are usually cultured in shakers or stirred tank bioreactors. For research institutions working with mammalian or insect cells, it is ideal to have a system that can optimally support the growth of both suspension and adherent cells; however, most bioreactors can only optimally supportone type of cell culture.
VacciXcell’s answer to this is the VacciXcell™ Hybrid bioreactor, a four-in-one bioreactor conceptualized and developed by VacciXcell in Singapore. VacciXcell™ Hybrid bioreactor is a multiple-use, laboratory scale bioreactor system that can be used to culture microorganisms, adherent or anchorage-dependent and suspended mammalian cells. It is capable of doing adherent cell culture using macrocarriers, doing adherent cell culture using microcarriers, suspension culture and fermentation.
Principle Behind the technology
With the VacciXcell™ Hybrid Bioreactor, microorganisms and suspension cells are cultured under the stir principle. On the other hand, adherent cells can be cultured in two ways – on microcarriers under the stir principle or on BioNOC™ II carriers under the tide motion principle. With the stir principle, cells or microcarriers (with cells attached to them) are suspended in culture medium with constant agitation using an impeller, while with the tide motion principle, adherent cells are alternately exposed to air and nutrition.
Switching from suspension to adherent culture (via the tide motion principle) can be done by simply adding the matrix vessel, which houses the BioNOC™ II carriers.
The Tide Motion Advantage
With the tide motion system, adherent cells are alternately exposed to oxygen and nutrition via the gentle oscillation of the culture medium. This motion provides cells with an environment of low shear stress, zero foaming and bubbling, no oxygen limitation, and efficient culture medium consumption.
The heart of the tide motion system is the BioNOC™ II carriers, to which the cells attach and grow.
BioNOC™ II carriers are made of 100% PET. They are fibrous and macroporous in nature, providing cells with a large surface area for growth, about 1 billion vero cells per gram of BioNOC™ II. Cells grow in 3D, rather than 2D, which closely mimics the cell growth and environment in vivo. The BioNOC™ II carriers have the ability to absorb about 20% of the culture medium and therefore during the aeration phase, cells are not completely dry.
Cells remain entrapped within the carriers, allowing the simpler harvest of secreted products. Non-secreted products and live cells can also be harvested via trypsinization or freeze-thawing of the attached cells. Live cells can be harvested with a viability of 90%.
Other features of the BioNOC™ II carriers include biocompatibility, low lint release, stable hydrophilicity, and animal component-free.
The VacciXcell™ Hybrid bioreactor is available in a range of stir tank capacities from 1,000ml to 50,000ml, while under the tide motion principle, the 50,000ml reactor can be used to culture up to 55 billion (55E9) cells (quantity varies per cell line). It features an automated monitoring system and various parameters such as pH, dissolved oxygen, agitation, level, foaming, temperature, turbidity, biomass, and redox. The bioreactor also comes with a closed system sampling of both the culture medium and the BioNOC™ II carriers (during adherent tide motion culture) and has an option for a Cleaning-In-Place (CIP) system.