Generation of stable Chinese hamster ovary pools yielding antibody titers of up to 7.6 g/L using the piggyBac transposon system

Biotechnol Prog. 2016 Sep;32(5):1301-1307. doi: 10.1002/btpr.2307. Epub 2016 Jun 29.


Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells remain the default production host for many biopharmaceutical drugs, particularly monoclonal antibodies (mAb). Production of gram and kilogram quantities of protein typically requires the generation of stable CHO clones. Unfortunately, this process takes several months, significantly slowing down the drug discovery and development process. Therefore, improved technologies are needed to accelerate biopharmaceutical drug discovery and final drug substance manufacturing. In this study, we describe the generation of stable CHO pools using the piggyBac transposon system. We evaluated the system using four model antibody molecules (3 mAbs and 1 bispecific Ab). Stable CHO pools were isolated in 7-12 days. Using a simple 16-day fed-batch process, we measured titers ranging from 2.3 to 7.6 g/L for the four model antibodies. This represented a 4- to 12-fold increase relative to the controls. Additionally, we isolated stable CHO clones. We found that the stable CHO clones isolated from the piggyBac transposon pools yielded titers two to threefold higher relative to the control clones. Taken together, these results suggest that stable CHO pool and clone generation can be significantly improved by using the piggyBac transposon system. © 2016 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 32:1301-1307, 2016.

Keywords: CHO pool; GS CHO KO; antibody; piggyBac; transposon.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / analysis*
  • Antibodies / metabolism
  • CHO Cells
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Clone Cells
  • Cricetulus
  • DNA Transposable Elements*


  • Antibodies
  • DNA Transposable Elements