Single-use bioprocessing bags and bioreactors gained significant importance in the industry as they offer a number of advantages over traditional stainless steel solutions. However, there is continued concern that the plastic materials might release potentially toxic substances negatively impacting cell growth and product titers, or even compromise drug safety when using single-use bags for intermediate or drug substance storage. In this study, we have focused on the in vitro detection of potentially cytotoxic leachables originating from the recently developed new polyethylene (PE) multilayer film called S80. This new film was developed to guarantee biocompatibility for multiple bioprocess applications, for example, storage of process fluids, mixing, and cell culture bioreactors. For this purpose, we examined a protein-free cell culture medium that had been used to extract leachables from freshly gamma-irradiated sample bags in a standardized cell culture assay. We investigated sample bags from films generated to establish the operating ranges of the film extrusion process. Further, we studied sample bags of different age after gamma-irradiation and finally, we performed extended media extraction trials at cold room conditions using sample bags. In contrast to a nonoptimized film formulation, our data demonstrate no cytotoxic effect of the S80 polymer film formulation under any of the investigated conditions. The S80 film formulation is based on an optimized PE polymer composition and additive package. Full traceability alongside specifications and controls of all critical raw materials, and process controls of the manufacturing process, that is, film extrusion and gamma-irradiation, have been established to ensure lot-to-lot consistency.
Keywords: cell-based assay; disposables; leachables; single-use systems.
© 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers.