Celltainer Biotech

Celltainer Biotech develops technologies and designs tools for application in single-use bioreactor systems. Applications are to be found both in mammalian cell culture and especially in microbial fermentations both for R&D and (GMP) Production. The technologies (IP) developed by Celltainer Biotech result in high quality bioprocesses and can improve biopharmaceutical processes: performance, yield, and cost reduction. Celltainer Biotech sells a range of single-use equipment.


How this started

Nico Oosterhuis, the founding father of Celltainer Biotech, is a bioprocess engineer and scientist. His thesis at the University of Delft (SCALE-UP OF BIOREACTORS; a scale-down approach) became an important work and is cited by many other bioprocess engineers. Since the early eighties, Nico always was involved in projects in which bioreactors played an important role. Early 2000 the wave-type single-use bioreactors were accepted for application in cell cultures, however by far these systems could not be compared with stirred tank reactors and in particular not regarding the performance. Single-use bioreactors reduce costs (easy validation, more simple infrastructure) and risks (contamination) and therefore became widely accepted now. Designing a plastic copy of the stirred tank reactor is possible, however there are many obstacles, like the agitation system, that increases the price of a single-use stirred bioreactor to an unacceptable level.

On top that, the plastic pillow shaped bag has been fully accepted by for cell culture application. Limitations of the wave-type bioreactors remained: poor mixing and poor mass transfer and therefore only applicable for mammalian cell culture. Microbial fermentations were almost out of the question.

But what actually is needed for an optimal performing bioprocess?

With experience and expertise as built up over the last 30 years, it was clear to Nico that the physiological stage of the cell and the micro-environment are essential in a bioprocess. This means: it’s all about mixing and mass transfer.

Mass transfer is influenced by wavelength, shaking speed and shaking angle. Especially the horizontal displacement has a significant effect on the mass transfer capacity. These parameters are the basis for the design of the CELL-tainer®. By keeping the mass transfer characteristics as well as the fluid flow forces constant when scaling-up, the micro-environment of the cell will be kept uniform, thus making it easy to predict large scale behavior of the cells from small scale experiments. As a result of the theoretical and practical studies, the patented two-dimensional movement came to live! With the input of highly respected biopharma industries the CELL-tainer® was born and brought from prototype to what it is today: a high performance single-use bioreactor system for multiple applications.


Why optimal mass transfer?

Essential in a bioprocess are the physiological stage of the cell and microbial organism at the level of the micro-environment. Inhomogeneity causes metabolic responses difficult to control and to reproduce. Therefore mixing and mass transfer are important for an efficient and robust process.

The bioreactor is the core of the bioprocess, therefore mixing and mass transfer should be optimal and such that the highest possible efficiency of the process is achieved. At the same time a bioprocess needs to be executed in a controlled environment to achieve high cell density, optimal viability and high productivity. For both cell cultures and microbial fermentation parameters to be measured and controlled are temperature, pH, pO2, pCO2, medium components, such as glucose.

The patented technology of the single-use bioreactor CELL-tainer® offers short mixing times and high mass transfer rates including reliable measurement and control of T, pH, DO and rpm in the culture medium. The mixing and mass transfer rates of CELL-tainer® are equal or better than what can be achieved in wave type bioreactors, stirred single-use reactors and even in the classical CSTR.