Lowering Chromatography Costs
An old technique – resurrected and repurposed for modern bioprocessing
Maryam Mahdi | | Quick Read
Though useful in the treatment of various chronic illnesses, the price of many monoclonal antibodies negatively impacts their accessibility. “Every year, individuals and insurance companies spend upwards of US$100 billion on antibodies, with costs to treat a single patient often exceeding $50,000,” said Andrew Zydney, Bayard D. Kunkle Chair, and professor of chemical engineering at Penn State, in a statement (1) . The reason? Affinity chromatography, the process used to separate a desired antibody from a solution, relies on chromatography columns that can cost up to $10 million each.
Aiming to lower the cost of these much-needed medicines, Zydney and his colleagues applied a 70-year-old protein purification method used for plasma processing to the development of antibody drugs (1). The team added zinc chloride and polyethylene glycol to separate a target antibody in solution – a cheaper, time-effective alternative to conventional practices. This progress has left the team hoping that the process can be scaled up to help patients access these medicines at affordable prices.
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- AL Zydney et al, Biotechnology Progress (2020). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/btpr.3082.