The process analytical technology (PAT) initiative shifted the bioprocess development mindset towards real-time monitoring and control tools to measure relevant process variables online, and acting accordingly when undesirable deviations occur. Online monitoring is especially important in lytic production systems in which released proteases and changes in cell physiology are likely to affect product quality attributes, as is the case of the insect cell-baculovirus expression vector system (IC-BEVS), a well-established system for production of viral vectors and vaccines. Here, we applied fluorescence spectroscopy as a real-time monitoring tool for recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) production in the IC-BEVS. Fluorescence spectroscopy is simple, yet sensitive and informative. To overcome the strong fluorescence background of the culture medium and improve predictive ability, we combined artificial neural network models with a genetic algorithm-based approach to optimize spectra preprocessing. We obtained predictive models for rAAV titer, cell viability and cell concentration with normalized root mean squared errors of 7%, 4%, and 7%, respectively, for leave-one-batch-out cross-validation. Our approach shows fluorescence spectroscopy allows real-time determination of the best time of harvest to maintain rAAV infectivity, an important quality attribute, and detection of deviations from the golden batch profile. This methodology can be applied to other biopharmaceuticals produced in the IC-BEVS, supporting the use of fluorescence spectroscopy as a versatile PAT tool.
- adeno-associated virus
- fluorescence spectroscopy
- insect cell-baculovirus system
- process analytical technology