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Microparticles for Superefficient Protein Purification

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Today most medicines are produced biotechnologically. A new cleaning method developed at ACIB combines five purification steps and leads to an extremely facilitated, more economical and ecological manufacturing process.

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GRAZ, AUSTRIA, June 12, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Seven of the ten best-selling drugs in 2012 were biopharmaceuticals; biotechnology in pharmaceutical production is still growing. A severe problem is the cleaning of products; up to 80% of the total production costs are spent for protein purification. The Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology (ACIB) has developed a method based on microparticles, which reduces five purification steps to only one; a revolution in the cleaning process of biopharmaceuticals.

"Our micro-particle system comprises a new cleaning method especially for proteins for medical application, which are produced by microorganisms. Using our microparticles, the manufacturing process of biopharmaceuticals becomes qualitatively better and faster", explains Prof. Bernd Nidetzky, CSO of ACIB. The new process was developed within a cooperation of ACIB and Boehringer Ingelheim RCV.

"Five in one"
"The economic relevance of this new purification method lies in its simplicity and speed. We aggregated five process steps into a single one," says Georg Klima, head of Process Development Biopharma at Boehringer Ingelheim in Vienna, "in addition, we expect an even better quality because the microparticles directly absorb the product out of the cells with high specifity." A key issue was the transfer of technology from research into corporate laboratories, which was completed within a few weeks.

Details about the microparticle technology
Currently, chromatography is used for standardized protein purification. Industry fights with slow binding rates, clogged or damaged material, product losses and other obstacles.

The new ACIB system works differently: Scientists prepare charged microparticles based on the ion exchange principle with a size of one to two microns. The entire binding operation is completed within 30 seconds. Additionally, a continuous process based on the micro particle technology has been established to further accelerate the biopharmaceutical purification.

About ACIB
ACIB is an international research center and a partnership of 80+ universities and industry partners. At acib, 190+ scientists work in more than 40 research projects searching for new, more economic and ecological technologies.

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