M. Barut, A. Podgornik, P. Brne, A. Štrancar
J. Sep. Sci. 2005, 28, 1876-1892
New therapeutics that are being developed rely more and more on large and complex biomacromolecules like proteins, DNA, and viral particles. Manufacturing processes are being redesigned and optimized both upstream and downstream to cope with the ever-increasing demand for the above target molecules. In downstream processing, LC still represents the most powerful technique for achieving high yield and high purities of these molecules. In most cases, however, the separation technology relies on conventional particle-based technology, which has been optimized for the purification of smaller molecules. New technologies are, therefore, needed in order to push the downstream processing ahead and into the direction that will provide robust, productive, and easy to implement methods for the production of novel therapeutics. New technologies include the renaissance of membranes, various improvements of existing technologies, but also the introduction of a novel concept – the continuous bed or monolithic stationary phases. Among different introduced products, Convective Interaction Media short monolithic columns (SMC) that are based on methacrylate monoliths exhibit some interesting features that make them attractive for these tasks. SMC can be initially used for fast method development on the laboratory scale and subsequently efficiently transferred to preparative and even more importantly to industrial scale. A brief historical overview of methacrylate monoliths is presented, followed by a short presentation of theoretical considerations that had led to the development of SMC. The design of these columns, as well as their scale-up to large units, together with the methods for transferring gradient separations from one scale to another are addressed. Noninvasive methods that have been developed for the physical characterization of various batches of SMC, which fulfill the regulatory requirements for cGMP production, are discussed. The applications of SMC for the separation and purification of large biomolecules, which demonstrate the full potential of this novel technology for an efficient downstream processing of biomolecules, are also presented.
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