Single-use biomass sensor

Aber Instruments has launched its new Futura neotf single-use biomass sensor. The new sensor, designed for easy integration with Thermo Scientific (Thermo) single-use bioreactors, allows accurate process fingerprinting for online monitoring and control of cell culture, making it ideal for supporting seamless scale-up with biologics and vaccine manufacturing.  

Based on Aber’s capacitance measurement technology, the Futura neotf  single-use sensor can measure biomass on-line in a Thermo single-use bioreactor every 4 seconds. Unlike offline biomass measurement approaches, which are time‐consuming and generate few data points, capacitance is sample-less and allows walk-away analysis, and collection of large amounts of real-time data without removing samples from the bioreactor. Process development runs can rapidly provide all the data to generate accurate fingerprints of a cell culture process to support Quality by Design (QbD). 

Using process fingerprints from Futura neotf, scientists can for example, maintain critical process parameters (CPPs) and critical quality attributes (CQAs) of their biologics and vaccines from batch to batch and can rapidly identify and prevent costly out of specification batches occurring. They can also use the data generated for advanced control such as determining optimum cell harvest or virus infection times, potentially improving product yield and quality, as well as reducing cost of goods.

Consisting of a head amplifier and a single-use sensor, the system can easily be integrated via a proprietary port into Thermo single-use bioreactor ranges including the HyPerforma. Developed with scalability in mind, the technology is compatible across sizes in bioreactors from 50 L to 2000 L, making it scalable through process development, clinical trials, and Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) cell culture production. 

The new system has been successfully tested internally by Thermo and externally by a major biopharmaceutical company to measure viable cell concentration (VCC) of Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells as part of its bioprocessing 4.0 workflow. The studies demonstrate that the single-use sensor was successful as a Process Analytical Technology (PAT) tool for measuring cell density in real-time with batch, fed-batch and perfusion applications.

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