ABER has 24 years of specialist knowledge and scientific resources on measuring viable biomass using radio frequency spectroscopy. Based on research activities at the University of Abersytwyth, ABER Instruments (27 fte, 6 in RTD) invented and patented a unique method for measuring live biomass based on Radio-Frequency Impedance. The systems are sold to major biopharma and brewing companies and today, ABER Instruments is the global leader in on-line biomass measurement. ABER has supplied over 1000 systems worldwide for the on-line measurement of viable biomass. The Biomass Monitor is used in research, process development and manufacturing by the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies such as Genentech, Novartis, Novo, Biogen Idec,,GlaxoSmithkline, Centocor, Sandoz, Eli Lilly and Genzyme. Many of the systems are now used in cGMP manufacturing processes with some customers using over 50 instruments. ABER is actively trying to expand its application base and measure more cells in different biological situations. To this end ABER is pushing its technology into both the Single Use and Stem Cell arenas. Working with the REACH project is seen as a route to achieving these goals.
Main tasks in the REACH project
ABER’s task is to create a complete, integrated solution for measuring online viable biomass in the REACH single use bioreactor. This will be broken down into the following stages:
1) Assessing the user requirements and drawing up appropriate project documentation. This will include conformity details and testing regimes.
2) Creating a design and researching materials and methods. This will involve several prototypes and much performance type testing. The main challenges likely to be the need to shrink the sensor footprint to fit the new bioreactor. As electrode size is decreased the unwanted measuring artifacts increase significantly.
3) Addressing data communication issues and integrating the new biomass sensor system into the new bioreactor’s control system. 4) Taking the final sensor design and turning it into a pre-production unit that can be used to test and prove the new bioreactor system.