Perfusion is a cell culture method that involves retaining cells within a bioreactor while replenishing nutrients through fresh media. This method is increasingly being recognized by manufacturers for its productivity benefits. This includes the ability to achieve significantly higher viable cell densities than fed-batch operations. Despite this, the adoption of perfusion is still obstructed by concerns surrounding the economic impact of the switch and the complexity of operation.
The primary economic concern related to perfusion is the purchase and preparation of cell culture media. With larger volumes of media required, the cost of purchasing is typically higher than with fed-batch processes. Other media-related factors include the labor involved in frequent preparation and the storage of hydrated media. However, these factors can vary greatly between facilities.
While perfusion may seem to be an expensive undertaking for biologic manufacturers, particularly when comparing the cost of materials, the economic benefits of implementing the process can be profound. There are several immeasurable benefits related to a decreased facility footprint and significant improvement in quality. These include the reduced need for horizontal and vertical facility expansion, smaller operating volumes that facilitate the effective use of single-use technologies, and the flexibility single-use technologies provide.
The economic benefits of perfusion, however, are largely due to the increased productivity achieved while keeping consumption of media manageable. To maximize productivity at lower medium flow rates, an optimized cell culture medium is critical.
Media formulations designed to sustain the very high viable cell densities of perfusion processes should be utilized. Ideally, media that can also be used in concentrated form would be advantageous to reduce the space and volume of media required during runs. The process required to design a proprietary perfusion formulation can be lengthy and requires understanding the demands of a perfusion process. For this reason, catalog options designed by experts in perfusion are an attractive option for use in a variety of processes.
Achieving an economical and optimized cell culture medium formulation is vital to implementing a successful perfusion process. In this whitepaper, we discuss advances in biopharmaceutical manufacturing that make perfusion an increasingly popular choice, as well as the economic benefits and concerns surrounding the method.
Key learnings from the white paper
- Perfusion is a cell culture method that involves retaining cells within a bioreactor while replenishing nutrients through fresh media. This method is increasingly being recognized by manufacturers for its productivity benefits.
- Other factors encouraging perfusion uptake include the advancement of Industry 4.0, the increased stability of cell lines, and an industry-wide shift in business models.
- The primary economic concern related to perfusion is the purchase and preparation of larger volumes of cell culture media compared to fed-batch processes.
- There are many cost savings with perfusion that are primarily due to an increase in productivity. Decreased facility footprint and significant improvement in quality also provide several immeasurable benefits.
- As media is a major cost-determining factor, choosing an optimized perfusion medium is critical to maximizing the benefits of perfusion bioprocessing.