Disposable bioreactor boasts impeller stirring

A single-use benchtop bioreactor ready to use out of the box is expected to launch next month, according to Massachusetts manufacturer Millipore. The 3-liter CellReady Bioreactor is part of the company's Mobius line.

The disposable platform, intended to replace traditional glass benchtop bioreactors by incorporating a standard stirred-tank format, is the result of collaboration between Millipore and Netherlands-based Applikon Biotechnology, explains Andrew Bulpin, Ph.D., Millipore VP for upstream processing.

The platform has four parts: a controller to run the system, software to run the controller, sensors and probes, and the bioreactor vessel. "We didn't want to reinvent the wheel, so we got the controller and software from Applikon," says Bulpin. "Millipore has the engineering capability, plus the polymer expertise. We did the engineering and design and oversee the manufacturing." The platform is adaptable for most sensors on the market today.

Components are injection molded through a third-party manufacturer in the U.S. Millipore also contracts assembly to the contractor.

This vessel design improves predictability during process scale-up when compared to disposable products based on alternative vessel designs and agitation methods, Bulpin says. "We use an impeller on a shaft for stirring, rather than a rocker-bed approach," he explains. "The trickiest portion is where the top goes through the head plate. It moves but needs to stay intact. We have experience from Mobius mixers-we have good IP around that."

Use of the impeller rather than the rocker bed also means that a smaller vessel suffices. Rocker bed vessels have to be larger to allow room for air for aeration. With stirring, the vessel can be closer to the desired final volume size, says Bulpin.

- here's the Millipore announcement