Cambridge Healthtech Institute’s 13th Annual
Optimizing Cell Culture Technology
Enhancing Knowledge for Growing Cells
Part of CHI's Ninth Annual The Bioprocessing Summit

August 21-22, 2017 | Westin Copley Place | Boston, MA

The Optimizing Cell Culture Technology is the leading international conference focused solely on culturing cells. As industry needs increase, greater pressure is put on cell culture to meet growing demands. This meeting explores today’s evolving strategies and technologies for improving mammalian cell cultivation, including omics technologies and synthetic biology. Industry experts offer insights into optimizing conditions as well as cell biology in an effort to improve yield, while also addressing the future of cell culture in an expanding market where standards of quality continue to rise.

The agenda again features a session focused on CHO (Chinese Hamster Ovary cells), as well as small-group breakout discussions that provide the opportunity to discuss important topics with peers from around the world.

Final Agenda

Monday, August 21

8:00 am Short Course Registration Open

9:0011:30 Recommended
Morning Short Courses*

SC1: Optimizing Cell Culture Media

* Separate registration required

11:30 Main Conference Registration Open


1:00 pm Chairperson’s Opening Remarks

Alan Dickson, Ph.D., Director, Centre of Excellence in Biopharmaceuticals (COEBP), and Professor, Biotechnology, The University of Manchester



Innovations in Process Science within an End-to-End Integrated Development Organization, Delivers on Speed, Cost and Quality Objectives for Biogen’s Biotherapeutic Pipeline

Rashmi Korke-Kshirsagar, Ph.D., Director, Cell Line and Cell Culture Development for Proteins, Biogen

1:45 Cell-Derived Extracellular Matrix: Isolation, Analysis and Functional Studies

Josephine C. Adams, Ph.D., Professor, Cell Biology, Biochemistry, University of Bristol

Metazoan extracellular matrix (ECM) consists of fibres and networks of collagens, glycoproteins and proteoglycans. The ECM micro-environment has important roles in cell survival, differentiation, motility and mechanical force-balance in tissues. Isolation of ECM is complicated by its insoluble, cross-linked nature and the need to separate ECM from cellular proteins. I will discuss my laboratory’s approaches with a scaleable method to isolate ECM from adherent, cultured cells for downstream experimentation.

2:15 Use of Multivariate Data Analysis to Improve Cell Culture Performance in a Commercial Process -- Case Study

Betty Agudelo-Rewey, M.S., Principal Engineer, Drug Substance Process Development, Amgen, Inc.

Process variability can lead to poor process performance and can impact product quality attributes. Cell culture manufacturing processes are multivariate by nature which can make it more difficult to determine the sources of input variation and therefore make it more difficult to diagnose and troubleshoot issues. The application of appropriate multivariate data analyses can significantly aid in signal identification, diagnosis, understanding of process shifts, as well as in the identification of improvement opportunities. A case study will be presented to demonstrate the value of this approach to control variation for a critical quality attribute while maintaining process performance.

2:45 Refreshment Break


3:15 From CHO to hMSCs, Perceptions and Reality of “Shear Sensitivities”

Jeffrey Chalmers, Ph.D., Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, The Ohio State University

Suspension animal cell culture is now routinely scaled up to bioreactors on the order of 10,000 liters, and greater, to meet commercial demand. However, the concern of the “shear sensitivity” of animal cells still remains, not only within the bioreactor, but also in the downstream processing. The perception of “shear sensitivity” has historically put an arbitrary upper limit on agitation and aeration in bioreactor operation. This presentation will mainly focus on publications from both academia and industry, and some recent experimental data on microcarrier cultures regarding the effect of hydrodynamic forces.

3:45 Sponsored Presentation (Opportunity Available)

4:00 Understanding and Modulating the Quality Attributes of a Novel Class of Therapeutic Proteins through Upstream Process Development -- Case Study & New, Unpublished Data

Ravindra Pangule, Ph.D., Associate Principal Scientist, Process Development & Engineering, Merck Research Laboratories

4:30 Breakout Discussions

This session provides the opportunity to discuss a focused topic with peers from around the world in an open, collegial setting. Select from the list of topics available and join the moderated discussion to share ideas, gain insights, establish collaborations or commiserate about persistent challenges. Then continue the discussion as you head into the lively exhibit hall for information about the latest technologies.

5:30 Grand Opening Reception in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing

7:00 Close of Day

Tuesday, August 22

7:30 am Registration Open and Morning Coffee


7:55 Chairperson’s Remarks

Jeffrey Chalmers, Ph.D., Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, The Ohio State University

8:00 Is It Time to Reinvent Basic Cell Culture Medium?

Svetlana V. Komarova, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Dentistry, McGill University

The quality of the cell culture media is critically important for the success of in vitro experiments. Four synthetic media formulations developed more than 50 years ago – DMEM, RPMI 1640, MEM, and Medium 199 (M199) – are used in ~90% of published in vitro studies. However, the levels of electrolytes and carbohydrates in these media formulations largely deviate from physiological values. The potential consequences of such deviations will be discussed.

8:30 Systems Biology Approach in the Development of Chemically-Defined Media for Production of Protein Therapeutics in CHO Cells

Wai Lam W. Ling, Ph.D., Senior Principal Scientist and Group Director, Process Development & Engineering, Biologics & Vaccines BioProcess Development, Merck Research Labs

9:00 Assessing Mycoplasma Contamination of Cell Cultures by qPCR using a Set of Universal Primer Pairs Targeting a 1.5 kb Fragment of 16S rRNA Genes

Denis Gerlier, Ph.D., Research Director, Human Virology, Centre International de Recherche en Infectiologie, University of Lyon

Mycoplasmas are a predominant bacterial contaminant of cell culture and cell derived products including viruses. Mycoplasmas routinely escape ultrafiltration and visualization under microscopic examination, hence the ease with which cells in culture can be contaminated. Here is reported the development and validation of a quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) based on the amplification of a 1.5 kb fragment covering the 16S rDNA of the Mollicute class by real-time PCR using universal U1 and U8 degenerate primers.

9:30 Improve Efficiency and Eliminate Human Error with Automated Sampling and Feed Control

Frederick Schneider Jr., Director of Sales, Flownamics

What if you could reduce or completely eliminate the time spent sampling manually each day and or on weekends? In this technical seminar, you will learn how the Seg-Flow automated sampling platform will improve your process conditions and performance, decrease sample volume requirements and save you both time and money.

9:45 Coffee Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing


10:30 Speaker to be Announced

11:00 SPR Biosensing of Monoclonal Antibody during Cell Culture

Gregory De Crescenzo, Ph.D., Professor, Chemical Engineering, Polytechnique de Montréal

A surface plasmon resonance-based assay has been developed to quantify monoclonal antibody within the supernatant of a mammalian cell and confirm Mab binding to its antigen in a single biosensing experiment. Our results were in excellent agreement with quantification performed by Protein-A HPLC. While the approach is of interest for off-line analysis, its application to at-line characterization will be discussed.

11:30 Softsensors: New Approach for Process Monitoring Cell Growth in Small-Scale Fermentation Systems -- New, Unpublished Data

Wolfgang Paul, Ph.D., Group Leader, Cell Culture Research, Roche Innovation Center Munich, Roche Diagnostics GmbH

The new approach is a soft sensor, which takes online signals of the bioreactor, which are correlated to cell growth to estimate the cell growth. The soft sensor based on multiple linear regression and on artificial neural network to estimate the cell growth as online signal during cultivation time. The soft sensor was successful implemented in the multiple small scale bioreactor system and estimated values with high confidence and low root mean squared error below 15%.

12:00 pm Essential Ingredients for Decoding the Microbiome with Metabolomics

Kirk Beebe, Director, Applied Metabolomics, Metabolon

The microbiome has an important role in health but lack of mechanistic understanding hinders the practical use of this information. We will illustrate how, through surveying the metabolites that broker microbe-host interaction, metabolomics can enrich insights into this association.

12:30 Luncheon Presentation: “Difficult-to-Express” Proteins: Solutions for Clinical Manufacturing

Scott Waniger, Vice President, Bioprocessing, Cell Culture Company

Advances in protein engineering have made complex biologic therapeutics more prominent. These molecules are sometimes labeled as “difficult-to-express” proteins due to low protein titers and/or sensitivity to environmental conditions, making clinical manufacturing slow and expensive. Acusyst perfusion systems provide an alternative to traditional fed-batch systems for clinical manufacturing, enabling efficient production of difficult-to-express proteins. This talk presents case studies demonstrating the benefits of Acusyst systems including enhanced yields, reduced costs and improved scalability.

1:15 Dessert Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing


1:55 Chairperson’s Remarks

Shahram Misaghi, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Early Stage Cell Culture, Genentech -- A Member of the Roche Group



Genome Editing of CHO Cells: Molecular Tinkering or Revolutionary Change?

Alan Dickson, Ph.D., Director, Centre of Excellence in Biopharmaceuticals (COEBP), and Professor, Biotechnology, The University of Manchester

What’s new? Genome editing opens up the possibilities to revolutionise CHO cell platforms…or is it to discover that nature got there before us? In this case study, I will describe some of our recent work to engineer novel CHO cell phenotypes and focus on factors that maximisethe match between prediction and outcome.

2:30 Population Dynamics in Cloned CHO Cell Lines

Jennifer Tzihsuan Lin, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, BioProcess R&D, Pfizer, Inc.

The inherent nature of cloned CHO cell lines includes the presence of genetic and phenotypic drift that leads to heterogeneous populations. The genetic heterogeneity exhibited by these cells can be exploited to understand the population dynamics of cloned cell lines. Understanding the interplay between heterogeneity, cell culture conditions and population dynamics will allow for critical assessment of overarching cell line development methods and strategies in terms of population and monoclonality. Using sequence variants (SVs) as biomarkers to characterize and understand populations within cloned cell lines will be presented and monoclonality discussed.

3:00 CRISPR Tools for CHO Cell Engineering -- New, Unpublished Data

Helene Faustrup Kildegaard, Ph.D., Senior Researcher and Co-Principal Investigator, The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, Technical University of Denmark

CHO cells are widely used in the industry as a host for the production of complex pharmaceutical proteins. Thus, accelerated genome engineering of CHO cell factories to improve product yield and quality is of great interest. In this talk, our recent efforts in accelerating genome engineering of CHO cell factories will be presented. Topics will include targeted integration and multiplexing of gene knockouts.

3:30 Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall with Poster Viewing


4:15 Sub-Physiological Culture Temperature Boosts Expression Levels of Membrane Proteins in CHO Cells

Sampath Kumar, Ph.D., Senior Scientist II, Adimab LLC

Generating therapeutic antibodies against membrane proteins is a major challenge. In one approach, cell lines overexpressing the membrane proteins are used as target-bearing cells for antibody discovery. Sufficient levels of expression is critical for the success of antibody discovery. Retarding the cell growth by culturing at a sub-physiological culture temperature substantially boosted the expression of membrane proteins. Thus, culturing at a sub-physiological temperature serves as a simple method to boost CHO cell expression of membrane proteins just as it does for secreted proteins.

4:45 BiP the Alarm; High Intracellular Seed Train BiP Levels Correlate with Poor Production Culture Performance, a Case Study of a DHFR-Deficient CHO Cell Line

Shahram Misaghi, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Early Stage Cell Culture, Genentech -- A Member of the Roche Group

Consistent cell culture performance is a prerequisite to ensure product quality consistency and achieve productivity goals to manufacture recombinant protein therapeutics, including monoclonal antibodies. To ensure a smooth transition from seed train through inoculum train to the production culture, parameters such as viability, viable cell count (VCC), packed cell volume (PCV), glucose consumption, and pH are closely monitored. Here we report a peculiar observation where high levels of intracellular BiP in seed train cultures are consistently predictive of poor cell culture performance in the subsequent inoculum and production cultures for a monoclonal antibody produced in CHO cells.

5:15 Close of Conference

6:008:30 Recommended
Dinner Short Course*

SC7: Analytical Strategies for Comparability in Bioprocess Development

Christine P. Chan, Ph.D., Principal Scientist/Technical Lead, Global Manufacturing Science & Technology, Specialty Care Operations, Sanofi

* Separate registration required

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