Precipitation can be used for the initial purification of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), with the soluble host cell proteins removed in the permeate by tangential flow microfiltration. The objective of this study was to examine the use of a feed-and-bleed configuration to increase the effective conversion (ratio of permeate to feed flow rates) in the hollow fiber module to enable more effective washing of the precipitate. Experiments were performed using human serum Immunoglobulin G (IgG) precipitates formed with 10 mM zinc chloride and 7 wt% polyethylene glycol. The critical flux was evaluated as a function of the shear rate and IgG concentration, with the resulting correlation used to predict conditions that can achieve 90% conversion in a single pass with minimal fouling. Experimental data for both the start-up and steady-state performance are in good agreement with model calculations. These results were used to analyze the performance of an enhanced continuous precipitation–microfiltration process using the feed-and-bleed configuration for the initial capture / purification of a mAb product.
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