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Introduction and clearance of beta-glucan in the downstream processing of monoclonal antibodies
Biotechnology Progress  (IF2.681),  Pub Date : 2021-03-20, DOI: 10.1002/btpr.3149
Simon Kluters, Karin Steinhauser, Roland Pfänder, Joey Studts

β-Glucan process-related impurities can be introduced into biopharmaceutical products via upstream or downstream processing or via excipients. This study obtained a comprehensive process-mapping dataset for five monoclonal antibodies to assess β-glucan introduction and clearance during development and production runs at various scales. Overall, 198 data points were available for analysis. The greatest β-glucan concentrations were found in the depth-filtration filtrate (37–2,745 pg/ml). Load volume correlated with β-glucan concentration in the filtrate, whereas flush volume was of secondary importance. Cation-exchange chromatography significantly cleared β-glucans. Furthermore, β-glucan leaching from the Planova 20N virus removal filter was reduced by increasing the flush volume (1 vs. 10 L/m2). β-glucan concentrations after filter flush with 10 L/m2 were consistently <10 pg/ml. No or only limited β-glucan clearance was attained via ultrafiltration/diafiltration (UF/DF). However, during the first run with monoclonal antibody (mAb) 4, β-glucan concentration in the UF/DF retentate was 10.8 pg/mg, potentially due to β-glucan leaching from the first run with a regenerated cellulose membrane. Overall, β-glucan levels in the final mAb drug substance were 1–12 pg/mg. Assuming high doses of 1,000–5,000 mg, a β-glucan contamination at 20 pg/mg would translate to 20–100 ng/dose, which is below the previously suggested threshold for product safety (≤500 ng/dose).