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Batch Culture Process

The process of growing the cells and having them secrete the compound of interest has traditionally employed equipment very much like a beer fermentation tank. Instead of growing yeast, these tanks are growing other cells?often genetically engineered mammalian cells?in media (liquid nutrients). The growth process naturally halts after a few weeks as the tank reaches a terminal condition when the cells die due to competition for food, not enough oxygen, etc. Most tanks have oxygen bubblers and stir paddles to facilitate oxygenation of cells and extend the growing cycle, but they still reach termination relatively quickly?within 2 to 3 weeks.

Continuous Perfusion Process

Instead of the cells growing inside a vat of solution, the Sepragen Bio-reactor uses a sponge and wicking action. The surface of the sponge creates a large adherent surface for the cells to grow on to high densities, closer to a cell’s natural environment, and the gaps in the sponge structure keep plenty of oxygen around the cells and the material itself keeps sufficient nutrients available. Air is more important than food to living organisms and Sepragen’s bioreactor ensures its presence in abundance. Wicking action creates a flow through the “sponge” of growing cells. This creates a continuous growth process, akin to most living systems, and a mass of viable cells secreting the compound of interest at higher levels and for a much longer time than batch processes?as much as 3 to 6 months. This bioreactor produces a very high cell density with very high viability. Performance ranges from 50-100 times that of batch culture processes with equipment footprint of less than 1/3 the size.

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