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Bluemel, Oliver; Buecheler, Jakob W.; Hauptmann, Astrid; Hoelzl, Georg; Bechtold-Peters, Karoline; Frieß, Wolfgang (2021): Scaling Down Large-Scale Thawing of Monoclonal Antibody Solutions: 3D Temperature Profiles, Changes in Concentration, and Density Gradients. In: Pharmaceutical research, Vol. 38, No. 11: pp. 1977-1989
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Abstract

PURPOSE Scale-down devices (SDD) are designed to simulate large-scale thawing of protein drug substance, but require only a fraction of the material. To evaluate the performance of a new SDD that aims to predict thawing in large-scale 2 L bottles, we characterised 3D temperature profiles and changes in concentration and density in comparison to 125~mL and 2 L bottles. Differences in diffusion between a monoclonal antibody (mAb) and histidine buffer after thawing were examined. METHODS Temperature profiles at six distinct positions were recorded with type T thermocouples. Size-exclusion chromatography allowed quantification of mAb and histidine. Polysorbate 80 was quantified using a fluorescent dye assay. In addition, the solution's density at different locations in bottles and the SDD was identified. RESULTS The temperature profiles in the SDD and the large-scale 2 L bottle during thawing were similar. Significant concentration gradients were detected in the 2 L bottle leading to marked density gradients. The SDD slightly overestimated the dilution in the top region and the maximum concentrations at the bottom. Fast diffusion resulted in rapid equilibration of histidine. CONCLUSION The innovative SDD allows a realistic characterisation and helps to understand thawing processes of mAb solutions in large-scale 2 L bottles. Only a fraction of material is needed to gain insights into the thawing behaviour that is associated with several possible detrimental limitations.