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A High Cell Density Transient Transfection System For Therapeutic Protein Expression Based On A CHO GS‐knockout Cell Line: Process Development And Product Quality Assessment

Yashas Rajendra, Maria D Hougland, Riazul Alam, Teresa A Morehead, Gavin C. Barnard
Published 2015 · Biology, Medicine

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Transient gene expression (TGE) is a rapid method for the production of recombinant proteins in mammalian cells. While the volumetric productivity of TGE has improved significantly over the past decade, most methods involve extensive cell line engineering and plasmid vector optimization in addition to long fed batch cultures lasting up to 21 days. Our colleagues have recently reported the development of a CHO K1SV GS‐KO host cell line. By creating a bi‐allelic glutamine synthetase knock out of the original CHOK1SV host cell line, they were able to improve the efficiency of generating high producing stable CHO lines for drug product manufacturing. We developed a TGE method using the same CHO K1SV GS‐KO host cell line without any further cell line engineering. We also refrained from performing plasmid vector engineering. Our objective was to setup a TGE process to mimic protein quality attributes obtained from stable CHO cell line. Polyethyleneimine (PEI)‐mediated transfections were performed at high cell density (4 × 106 cells/mL) followed by immediate growth arrest at 32°C for 7 days. Optimizing DNA and PEI concentrations proved to be important. Interestingly, found the direct transfection method (where DNA and PEI were added sequentially) to be superior to the more common indirect method (where DNA and PEI are first pre‐complexed). Moreover, the addition of a single feed solution and a polar solvent (N,N dimethylacetamide) significantly increased product titers. The scalability of process from 2 mL to 2 L was demonstrated using multiple proteins and multiple expression volumes. Using this simple, short, 7‐day TGE process, we were able to successfully produce 54 unique proteins in a fraction of the time that would have been required to produce the respective stable CHO cell lines. The list of 54 unique proteins includes mAbs, bispecific antibodies, and Fc‐fusion proteins. Antibody titers of up to 350 mg/L were achieved with the simple 7‐day process. Titers were increased to 1 g/L by extending the culture to 16 days. We also present two case studies comparing product quality of material generated by transient HEK293, transient CHO K1SV GS‐KO, and stable CHO K1SV KO pool. Protein from transient CHO was more representative of stable CHO protein compared to protein produced from HEK293. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2015;112: 977–986. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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