By Delia Lyons, Head of Perfusion Media, Development, MilliporeSigma
As the need for smaller plants, flexible manufacturing and competition intensifies in the biopharma industry, so does the need for intensified processes. Increased speed to market, reduced cost of goods and increased
volumetric productivity are some of the benefits offered by perfusion cell cultures. For a perfusion process to be economically feasible, high cell densities need to be attained with low volume of cell culture medium. Achieving and maintaining steady-state conditions with low perfusion rates require specific media – ideally fine-tuned to the
needs of the particular perfusion application. For example, in an N-1 bioreactor, maximized high growth rates and viability are required. In contrast, in a production bioreactor, such high growth rates may be detrimental, due
to increased bleed rates and associated product loss. A high performing perfusion cell culture medium needs to not only provide the required nutrients, but also to minimize the generation of toxic by-products. A critical
step, therefore, is to appropriately balance and optimize perfusion media according to the metabolic needs of each specific process – and steady-state perfusion is the most challenging of these applications.