As upstream product titers increase, the downstream chromatographic capture step has become a significant “downstream bottleneck.” Precipitation becomes more attractive under these conditions as the supersaturation driving force increases with the ever-increasing titer. In this study, two precipitating reagents with orthogonal mechanisms, polyethylene glycol (PEG) as a volume excluder and zinc chloride (ZnCl2) as a cross linker, were examined as precipitants for two monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), one stable and the other aggregation-prone, in purified drug substance and harvested cell culture fluid forms. Manual batch solubility and redissolution experiments were performed as scouting experiments. A high throughput (HTP) liquid handling system was used to investigate the design space as fully as possible while reducing time, labor, and material requirements. Precipitation and redissolution were studied by systematically varying the concentrations of PEG and ZnCl2 to identify combinations that resulted in high yield and good quality for the stable mAb; PEG concentrations in the range 7–7.5 wt/vol% together with 10 mM ZnCl2 gave a yield of 97% and monomer contents of about 93%. While yield for the unstable mAb was high, quality was not acceptable. Performance at selected conditions was further corroborated for the stable mAb using a continuous tubular precipitation reactor at the laboratory scale. The HTP automation system was a powerful tool for locating desired (customized) conditions for antibodies of different physicochemical properties.
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