Virus filtration of high-concentration monoclonal antibody solutions

Bruno F Marques, David J Roush, Kent E Göklen
Biotechnology Progress 2009, 25 (2): 483-91
The ability to process high-concentration monoclonal antibody solutions (> 10 g/L) through small-pore membranes typically used for virus removal can improve current antibody purification processes by eliminating the need for feed stream dilution, and by reducing filter area, cycle-time, and costs. In this work, we present the screening of virus filters of varying configurations and materials of construction using MAb solutions with a concentration range of 4-20 g/L. For our MAbs of interest-two different humanized IgG1s-flux decay was not observed up to a filter loading of 200 L/m(2) with a regenerated cellulose hollow fiber virus removal filter. In contrast, PVDF and PES flat sheet disc membranes were plugged by solutions of these same MAbs with concentrations >4 g/L well before 50 L/m(2). These results were obtained with purified feed streams containing <2% aggregates, as measured by size exclusion chromatography, where the majority of the aggregate likely was composed of dimers. Differences in filtration flux performance between the two MAbs under similar operating conditions indicate the sensitivity of the system to small differences in protein structure, presumably due to the impact of these differences on nonspecific interactions between the protein and the membrane; these differences cannot be anticipated based on protein pI alone. Virus clearance data with two model viruses (XMuLV and MMV) confirm the ability of hollow fiber membranes with 19 +/- 2 nm pore size to achieve at least 3-4 LRV, independent of MAb concentration, over the range examined.

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