Designing cell lines for viral vaccine production: Where do we stand?

Biotechnol J. 2015 May;10(5):728-40. doi: 10.1002/biot.201400388. Epub 2015 Apr 22.


Established animal cells, such as Vero, Madin Darby canine kidney (MDCK) or chicken embryo fibroblasts (CEFs), are still the main cell lines used for viral vaccine production, although new "designer cells" have been available for some years. These designer cell lines were specifically developed as a cell substrate for one application and are well characterized. Later screening for other possible applications widened the product range. These cells grow in suspension in chemically defined media under controlled conditions and can be used for up to 100 passages. Scale-up is easier and current process options allow cultivation in disposable bioreactors at cell concentrations higher than 1 × 10(7) cells/mL. This review covers the limitations of established cell lines and discusses the requirements and screening options for new host cells. Currently available designer cells for viral vaccine production (PER.C6, CAP, AGE1.CR, EB66 cells), together with other new cell lines (PBS-1, QOR/2E11, SogE, MFF-8C1 cells) that were recently described as possible cell substrates are presented. Using current process knowledge and cell line development tools, future upstream processing could resemble today's Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell processes for monoclonal antibody production: small scale bioreactors (disposable) in perfusion or fed-batch mode with cell concentrations above 1 × 10(8) cells/mL.

Keywords: Adaptation to suspension growth; Cell line screening; Cell substrates; Designer cells; Viral vaccine production.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Batch Cell Culture Techniques / methods
  • Bioreactors
  • Cell Line / virology*
  • Cricetulus
  • Humans
  • Viral Vaccines / biosynthesis*
  • Virus Cultivation / methods*


  • Viral Vaccines