Technical Optimization for the High-Throughput Purification of Antibodies on Automated Liquid Handlers

Methods Mol Biol. 2021;2178:49-62. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-0775-6_6.


Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are the fastest-growing segment in the drug market with eight of the top 20 selling drugs being mAbs and combined sales of close to 60 billion US$/year. The development of new therapeutic mAbs requires the purification of a large number of candidate molecules during initial screenings, subsequent affinity maturation campaigns, and finally the engineering of variants to improve half-life, functionality, or biophysical properties of potential lead molecules. A successful strategy to purify this ever-increasing number of mAbs in a timely manner has been the miniaturization and automation of the purification process using automatic liquid handlers (ALHs) such as Tecan's Evo or PerkinElmer's Janus platforms. These systems can be equipped with miniaturized columns, which are available in a wide variety of sizes and affinity matrices to cater to the need of the respective application. Various publications have described the setup of ALHs including the respective purification procedure. However, despite being very precise regarding the overall approach, most publications do not focus on the technical optimization and potential pitfalls, which can be crucial to obtain a robust process. To fill this gap, the present publication is aiming to point at some technical difficulties and suggesting potential ways to overcome these problems in order to facilitate the setup of new ALH systems for the purification of antibodies.

Keywords: Affinity purification; High throughput; Liquid handling; Monoclonal antibody; Robotics.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal* / chemistry
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal* / isolation & purification
  • Automation, Laboratory*
  • Chromatography, Affinity*
  • Humans


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal