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Removal of Empty Capsids from High-Dose Adeno-Associated Virus 9 Gene Therapies
  • +4
  • William S. Kish,
  • John Lightholder,
  • Tamara Zeković,
  • Alex Berrill,
  • Matthew Roach,
  • William B. Wellborn,
  • Eric Vorst
William S. Kish
Pfizer Inc

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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John Lightholder
Pfizer Inc
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Tamara Zeković
Pfizer Inc
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Alex Berrill
Pfizer Inc Chesterfield BioTherapeutics Pharmaceutical Science
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Matthew Roach
Pfizer Inc
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William B. Wellborn
Pfizer Inc Chesterfield BioTherapeutics Pharmaceutical Science
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Eric Vorst
Pfizer Inc
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Abstract

Recombinant adeno-associated virus, serotype 9 (rAAV9) has shown promise as a gene therapy vector for muscle and central nervous diseases. High-dose requirements of these therapies present critical safety considerations and biomanufacturing challenges. Notably, reduction of empty capsids (ECs), which lack therapeutic transgene, from rAAV9 products is critical to maximize efficacy. Removal of rAAV ECs from full capsids is a major downstream challenge because of their highly similar biophysical characteristics. Ultracentrifugation (UC) reduces ECs but is laborious and difficult to scale. In this paper, to replace a poorly scalable UC process, we developed an anion exchange (AEX) chromatography for rAAV9 EC reduction from full capsids. AEX load preparation by dilution incurred major product loss. Addition of an osmolyte amino acid and surfactants to dilution buffers increased yield and reduced aggregation. Elution salts were screened to maximize yield and EC reduction. The most promising load dilution buffer and elution salt were used in combination to form an optimized AEX method. The process reduced ECs three-fold, demonstrated robustness to a broad range of EC load challenges, and was scaled for large scale manufacture. Compared to UC, the AEX method simplified scale-up, reduced ECs to comparable levels (20%), afforded similar purity and product quality, and increased yield by 14%.