Article | October 13, 2022

How Collaborative R&D Delivered Revolutionary Adherent Culture Scale-Up Technology

By Jennifer Weber, Jerry (Yue) Zhou, Yulong Hong, and Ann Ferrie, Corning Life Sciences

Scaling production to meet demand often requires therapy developers to make a choice between adherent and suspension cell culture platforms. Each has advantages and disadvantages depending on cell type, desired output, timing, available production space and labor, cost, and other factors. The preferred solution for many applications would be a system that combines the productivity advantages of adherent cell culture and the scalability, automation, and control of a suspension system.

For years, the Corning Research and Development team has applied its innovation process to address this customer need. This process begins with customer intimacy — dynamic engagement with customers’ scientists to understand their challenges, pain points, and desires. Corning field applications scientists, sales representatives, and scientific support personnel gather intelligence and discuss challenges and bottlenecks to customer productivity. We then leverage Corning’s many decades of materials science expertise and deep understanding of cell biology and behavior to develop potential solutions.

A recent example of this collaborative process is the development of the Corning Ascent FBR System. Developed to address the challenges of cost-effectively manufacturing large quantities of adherent cells to support advanced therapies, this novel fixed bed bioreactor platform is designed to deliver significant surface area intensification and high-yield bioproduction capability in a platform that scales from benchtop process development to commercial production. The collaboration with customers through alpha and beta testing resulted in valuable design improvements, resulting in a completely closed system with integrated controller, media conditioning vessel, bioreactor vessel and sensors.

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