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Biotechnol Bioeng. 2018 Feb;115(2):413-422. doi: 10.1002/bit.26482. Epub 2017 Nov 22.

Comparison of purification strategies for antibodies used in a broad spectrum host cell protein immunoassay.

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Analytical Research and Development, Biotherapeutics Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pfizer Inc., Chesterfield, Missouri.
Division of Biotechnology Research and Review II, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland.
Bioprocess Research and Development, Biotherapeutics Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pfizer Inc., Andover, Massachusetts.


Host cell proteins (HCPs) are a heterogeneous mixture of impurities that should be minimized in bulk preparations of biotechnologically produced medicines. Immunoassays are commonly used to detect and measure HCPs in therapeutic products, and a successful assay is directly dependent on the quality of the polyclonal antibodies (pAbs) used. These pAbs are enriched from antisera of animals immunized with a broad mixture of HCPs, but there is limited information regarding the best strategy for purification of these critical reagents. The use of protein A or protein G affinity chromatography results in purified pAbs that are not entirely HCP-specific, while the use of HCP affinity chromatography results in a more specific pAb population but may be harder to recover fully. In theory, both approaches have advantages and disadvantages for generating optimal reagents. In this study, we compared reagents from these two purification procedures using the same starting material, as well as those from a step-wise combination of the two by evaluating purity, concentration, reagent coverage by Western blotting, and performance in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). This study demonstrates that pAbs purified by each of the methods are very similar in terms of sensitivity, the ability to recognize a broad range of HCPs, and overall performance in an ELISA measuring a range of HCPs in upstream process and final drug substance (DS) samples.


antibody purification; host cell protein; host cell proteins; immunoassay; polyclonal antibodies

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