Automated, single-use filtration to increase efficiency in upstream and downstream operations

In examining ways to improve overall bioprocess efficiency, filtration is a step that can sometimes be overlooked. However, it is a key area to improve efficiency, as it is part of both upstream and downstream operations and consumes sizeable resources. The application of single-use technologies coupled with increased automation have successfully improved efficiency in other bioprocess operations, thus it is logical that filtration would also benefit from these technologies.

One example of an improved filtration solution is GE Healthcare’s ÄKTA™ readyflux filtration system. The ÄKTA readyflux combines automation and single-use crossflow (tangential flow) filtration and is suitable for pilot and small-scale manufacturing.

Automating the Filtration Step

Automating filtration provides several benefits that can improve efficiency. For one, automating a process reduces the amount of human operation. This both frees operators to work on other tasks and increases consistency as operator-introduced variation is eliminated. Accompanying automation software can provide a library of filtration protocols and custom protocol options to enable further optimization of the filtration step.

For example, the UNICORN™ software, used to control ÄKTA readyflux, provides intuitive and flexible method creation, system control and process evaluation to simplify filtration tasks. Automation capabilities include extensive monitoring and control functions. Sensors and monitors are able to control the system based on a set of pre-defined procedures and an interactive process interface shows the current flow path, valve positions and monitors values in real-time. The system requires no programming expertise or specialized skills.

Single-use Filtration

The benefits of single-use technologies have been well documented with respect to other areas of bioprocess. Single-use products minimize time, personnel, utility and water cost in cleaning and validation. Single-use also allows faster change-over time, which is particularly critical in pilot and small scale manufacturing where frequent change-over is often necessary.

The ÄKTA readyflux system utilizes a single-use flow path that provides all the benefits of single-use including minimized cleaning and validation, reduced batch change-over time, and reduction of cross contamination risk.

Supports a facility flexibility

The ÄKTA readyflux has a compact, floor standing design and smaller footprint. This allows the system to be rolled around the production facility to where it is needed. It has also been designed to easily interface with other single-use equipment. For example, in upstream applications the ÄKTA readyflux can be connected to Xcellerex™ XDR stirred-tank bioreactor systems or rocking WAVE™ Bioreactor systems for use in clarification of cell culture feed. In downstream operations, it can be used with the ÄKTA ready chromatography system.

To learn more about the ÄKTA, please see the video below or visit

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