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Working Paper

Date of this Version



Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are biologically identical antibodies created by homogenous immune cells originating from the same parent cell. MAbs target a specific epitope of an antigen on a cell’s surface, allowing it to neutralize the antigen. This unique characteristic has made them a key tool in the biopharmaceutical industry for the production of therapeutic drugs. One of these drugs is Rituxan® (rituximab), a mAb drug for the treatment of various cancers and autoimmune diseases. Currently, most mAb products are grown via cell suspension technology in stirred tank bioreactors. However, we have found that by using an integrated bioprocessing model, including conventional cell suspension culture tanks and fluidized bioreactor technology, overall product yield per day is increased by about 7-fold for the production of Rituxan®. Additionally, an economic analysis shows the fluidized bioreactor process is more profitable. Furthermore, though it requires a higher initial investment than the stirred tank process, the differential present worth of the fluidized bioreactor process in comparison to the stirred tank process is $13 billion. Overall, for the production of Rituxan®, the use of fluidized bioreactor technology is a more productive and lucrative process than the conventional stirred tank process.



Date Posted: 25 July 2014