The implementation of single-use systems—which can deliver significant value through added flexibility, improved production yields, and cost savings—is gaining momentum in the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry. The initial single-use systems that gained market acceptance consisted of tubing, bags, filters, and connectors. Today, additional types of disposable technologies are being used throughout the production cycle. This article discusses how single-use transfer lines can be incorporated into seed train and final fill applications as well as suite-to-suite transfer operations.
To meet these intense market demands, manufacturers are being forced to continuously boost manufacturing speed and efficiency by relying on innovative technology that can be easily integrated into their existing production processes. One solution that continues to gain momentum is single-use systems, which can deliver significant value through added flexibility, improved production yields, and significant cost savings.
The initial single-use systems that gained market acceptance consisted of tubing, bags, filters, and connectors. These systems were used in bioprocessing facilities for process storage applications and sterile cell culture media. Single-use bioreactors then entered the market in research and development laboratories and rapidly moved into pilot plants and larger-scale production facilities as integral systems for seed train scale-up and production.
Now, single-use transfer lines are emerging as yet another option for manufacturers to save time and cost. Unlike hard piping, the flexible tubing incorporated into single-use transfer lines allows manufacturers to quickly change process steps or convert to a new product without costly and time-consuming cleaning and validation. This is a key advantage for multiple-product facilities in which process requirements change depending on the drug being produced. Innovative manufacturers now incorporate single-use transfer lines in seed train and final fill applications as well as suite-to-suite transfer operations.
The key benefit of single-use transfer lines is the ability to boost productivity and accelerate the time to market by reducing the downtime associated with equipment cleaning and validation. Between each production batch, fixed tubing and re-usable valves must be cleaned to maintain desired sterility. Single-use systems are presterilized and eliminate the need for traditional cleaning and sterilization. This reduced downtime translates into greater productivity and throughput. Instead of the entire process being placed on hold for validation, a single-use system can allow the process to be up and running sooner, thereby increasing output and accelerating the time to market.
Additional cost savings result from reduced labor, chemical, water, and energy demands associated with cleaning and validation. Not only do single-use systems reduce costs, they also improve the safety of drug development and delivery. Presterilized, single-use assemblies reduce the risk of cross contamination that may lead to product loss or reduced yields. This benefit is further magnified for companies that produce multiple products within single facilities.