A Look at New Airlift Technology in Single-Use Bioreactors Systems

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Pharmaceutical Technology Europe® spoke with Fiona Bellot, sales director, Cellexus BioreactorSystems, at the inaugural Start-Up Market on the show floor at CPHI Barcelona 2023.


Cellexus has pioneered airlift single-use disposable bioreactor systems. This new type of bioreactor airlift technology eliminates the need for mechanical mixing, instead using bubbles to move cells and nutrients, providing optimal aeration for rapid growth of cells. This method of gentle agitation is suitable for microbial fermentation and cell culture. An integrated heater/cooler allows temperatures from 16 °C to 40 °C without the need for external equipment.

Because of the low mechanical sheer forces inherent to the system (no impellers are used), phage and lentiviral production have been early use applications/adopters. Due to the large number of flasks required for adherent cell lentiviral vector production, manufacturers have turned to bioreactors and suspension-adapted cells to reduce space requirements, labor, and costs. Traditional stirred-tank bioreactors use mechanical agitation to provide mixing and aeration of the culture volume. This method of agitation can generate large shear forces that can damage the health of the cells, thus reducing lentiviral vector yields.

The single-use airlift technology uses disposable bioreactor bags to eliminate cleaning and contamination, reducing downtime between runs and decreasing time to market. The system can work in volumes from 1.5L to 50L, with compact systems offering a comparably low footprint.

Cellexus Bioreactor Systems was featured at the inaugural Start-Up Market on the show floor at CPHI Barcelona 2023. CPHI Barcelona ran from Oct. 24–26, 2023.