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Cell therapy upstream processing

Compared to production volumes associated with other biologics (e.g., mAbs: 2,000L to 10,000L), cell therapy production volumes are more commonly between 1L to 10L. Even the quality parameters are different.

Cell therapy upstream processing | Avantor

Exploring ideal cell therapy upstream processing and results 

Instead of striving for maximum titers and protein quality, cell therapies focus on maximum cell dose for delivery and the functionality of the cells/tissues being administered.
Thus, upstream production parameters covering media, supplements, bioreactor systems, and starting cell quality are very important. In the end, when the culture process has been completed, therapeutic cells need to be harvested employing cell dissociation reagents that do not impact the quality of the cell product.

Cell culture’s role in upstream processing

Both autologous and allogeneic cells are obtained from donors utilizing methods including, but not limited to, apheresis, aspirates, and surgical biopsies. The donor cells of interest are processed to remove undesirable contaminants and prepared for cell culture procedures.

To increase the number required for the final cell product, the donor cells are cultured in culture media supplemented with cytokines, growth factors, and essential amino acids and vitamins. Bioreactor systems designed for attachment-dependent donor cells are also used.

Many donor cells are not amenable to culture systems that exclude the use of animal sera or components of non-animal origin. If modification of the donor cells is required, Avantor provides a line of transfection reagents proven to meet your needs.

Explore solutions for cell therapy upstream processing


Cell culture experts everywhere are discovering how well their cells thrive on nutritionally superior sera from Avantor Seradigm. Seradigm’s unique collection and manufacturing techniques preserve more of the naturally-occurring growth factors in sera that cells require to thrive. Request information and order samples today!


Avantor manufacturers and distributes biopharmaceutical products and excipients providing structured choice and risk mitigation – for biopharmaceutical development, pilot scale and commercial manufacturing.


Avantor is the only open-architecture, single-use provider to offer complete design, manufacturing and logistics to support every stage of your biomanufacturing process—wherever your operations are located across the globe. Our global capabilities and supply chain and quality programs are designed to give the peace of mind so you can focus your time on producing critical therapies, quickly and safely.

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