Convective Interaction Technology (CIM®) offers a number of benefits for the purification of large molecules in comparison with conventional chromatography. The innovative matrix, cast as a single homogeneous piece, means that monolithic columns have a high pressure tolerance and allow fast operating flow rates.
Because the matrix structure is composed of large pores, mass transfer is essentially convective in contrast to conventional chromatography beads, where mass transfer is essentially diffusive. Therefore, CIM can be used at high flow rates without compromising binding capacity.
For these reasons, a monolithic column with anion exchange properties (CIM® QA) was selected to purify a very large protein (8 Mega Dalton) extracted from a marine mollusc.
Because 150 g of protein was required to perform preclinical trials, a scale-up of the process had to be designed and implemented. Early stage process development was carried out on an 8 mL column to determine the column loading capacity as well as the yield and the process reproducibility.
To improve binding on the column, stabilising agents had to be removed prior to this purification step. The protein had been observed to precipitate within hours of the removal of these reagents. Therefore, a suitable time frame for protein processing had to accommodate this instability.