iCELLis is a disposable bioreactor technology that has a fixed-bed microcarrier system, capable of supporting cell densities of up to “250 mio cells per ml,” according to Igor Fisch, the CEO of Selexis which developed the cell lines used in the project.
The single use technology, which is designed to simplify production operations, can achieve 20 to 100 times the volumetric productivity yield of larger stirred tank vessels, according to Artelis.
Since the late 1950s, Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells have dominated the production of recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) for small scale research, due to both their durability and the relatively high yields that can be achieved.
However, since the biologics market began to emerge in the 1980s, drugmakers and biotechnology firms have sought to develop new cell lines capable of producing the vast quantities required to make industrial scale protein production cost effective.
Although a range of cell lines are in development, including for example Vivalis’ EBx and Crucell’s PER.C6, no one technology has yet emerged as the leader. Artelis believes that its iCELLis platform can dramatically increase production yields for proteins made using a wide range of cell lines.
31 grams per litre
The four month project combined a modified CHO cell line with Artelis’ iCELLis platform. Yields of 31g of MAb per litre of CHO cells were achieved, far in excess of that achieved using conventional CHO systems.
The collaboration involved the development of the a stable CHO cell line using Selexis’ SURE programme and Genetic Elements vectors, both of which increase the population of cells that express the gene of interest. The stable CHO line was then transferred to Artelis for manufacture.
Fisch explained that: “The productivity and stability of the Selexis high-performance cell lines are a perfect fit for the iCELLis technology,” going on to comment that “the usefulness and potential applications of the combined approach could stretch across the biotech industry.”
Artelis and Selexis intend to expand their partnership, specifically focusing on production of the latter’s human embryonic kidney cell line, HEK293, using the iCELLis system.