Production of Lentiviral Vectors Using Suspension Cells Grown in Serum-free Media

Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev. 2019 Nov 26:17:58-68. doi: 10.1016/j.omtm.2019.11.011. eCollection 2020 Jun 12.


Lentiviral vectors are increasingly utilized in cell and gene therapy applications because they efficiently transduce target cells such as hematopoietic stem cells and T cells. Large-scale production of current Good Manufacturing Practices-grade lentiviral vectors is limited because of the adherent, serum-dependent nature of HEK293T cells used in the manufacturing process. To optimize large-scale clinical-grade lentiviral vector production, we developed an improved production scheme by adapting HEK293T cells to grow in suspension using commercially available and chemically defined serum-free media. Lentiviral vectors with titers equivalent to those of HEK293T cells were produced from SJ293TS cells using optimized transfection conditions that reduced the required amount of plasmid DNA by 50%. Furthermore, purification of SJ293TS-derived lentiviral vectors at 1 L yielded a recovery of 55% ± 14% (n = 138) of transducing units in the starting material, more than a 2-fold increase over historical yields from adherent HEK293T serum-dependent lentiviral vector preparations. SJ293TS cells were stable to produce lentiviral vectors over 4 months of continuous culture. SJ293TS-derived lentiviral vectors efficiently transduced primary hematopoietic stem cells and T cells from healthy donors. Overall, our SJ293TS cell line enables high-titer vector production in serum-free conditions while reducing the amount of input DNA required, resulting in a highly efficient manufacturing option.

Keywords: HIV; gene and cell therapy; immunotherapy; lentiviral; lentivirus; production; pseudotype; scalable; suspension; vector.