Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Vol.116, No.9, 2178-2190, 2019
A combined screening and in silico strategy for the rapid design of integrated downstream processes for process and product-related impurity removal
Integrated designs of chromatographic processes for purification of biopharmaceuticals provides potential gains in operational efficiency and reductions of costs and material requirements. We describe a combined method using screening and in silico algorithms for ranking chromatographic steps to rapidly design orthogonally selective integrated processes for purifying protein therapeutics from both process- and product-related impurities. IFN-alpha 2b produced in Pichia pastoris containing a significant product variant challenge was used as a case study. The product and product-related variants were screened on a set of 14 multimodal, ion exchange, and hydrophobic charge induction chromatography resins under various pH and salt linear gradient conditions. Data generated from reversed-phase chromatography of the fractions collected were used to generate a retention database for IFN-alpha 2b and its variants. These data, in combination with a previously constructed process-related impurity database for P. pastoris, were input into an in silico process development tool that generated and ranked all possible integrated chromatographic sequences for their ability to remove both process and product-related impurities. Top-ranking outputs guided the experimental refinement of two successful three step purification processes, one comprising all bind-elute steps and the other having two bind-elute steps and a flowthrough operation. This approach suggests a new platform-like approach for rapidly designing purification processes for a range of proteins where separations of both process- and product-related impurities are needed.