Liquid Filtration Microbial Control in Biotech and Pharmaceutical Production

Safely and efficiently remove fluid contaminants without compromising yield

Achieve complete process and product safety through filtration


Liquid filtration plays a critical role in contaminant removal at many points in the biopharmaceutical and pharmaceutical production process, ultimately ensuring safety and sterility of the final drug product. From upstream growth media through downstream buffer additions to final formulation and filling, correct liquid filter selection and validation drives efficiencies in processing while providing confidence in achieving drug critical quality attributes (CQAs).


Filtration challenges are different for each type of fluid, product and scale of production. The optimal grade of filtration solution required for microbial control (bioburden reduction, sterilizing-grade or enhanced sterility with mycoplasma control) will also depend on the process step and associated risk assessment.


Choose the level of microbial control based on your desired level of safety


Bioburden Reduction Liquid Filtration Sterilizing-Grade Liquid Filtration Enhanced Sterile Liquid Filtration with Mycoplasma Control

0.45 µm or 0.2 µm filters for preparative applications

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0.2 µm filters for producing sterile filtrate in aseptic processing

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0.1 µm filters for preparative bioreactor applications

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Complex drug products require new filtration approaches


Advancements in gene therapy, complex biologics and drug formulations, and changes in drug delivery format are driving the need for filtration solutions with enhanced performance capabilities for viscous and high concentration fluids, liposomes and nanoparticles.


We are looking to the future as we continue to develop new filters and aseptic technologies to support the production of next-generation drugs.


Maximize yield of lentiviral vectors for critical gene therapy applications



The growing interest in cell-modified gene therapies has highlighted the challenges associated with manufacturing viral vectors at the scales required for these therapeutics to gain regulatory approval. Minimizing loss (improving yield) at each production step of these highly complex molecules is paramount due to the high value of the product.


Lentivirus is increasingly the vector of choice due to its large cargo capacity that can transmit multiple genes. At 200 nm, the size of the lentivirus, compounded with a highly shear-sensitive bilipid envelope layer, and a half-life as low as 8-12 hours, mean specialist consideration is needed for filtration. Our specialists are working closely with cell and gene therapy process developers to better understand these challenges and refine filtration solutions for this emerging technology. 

Contact us to partner with you in this area.


Filtration challenges of highly viscous mAbs


Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) remain the predominant class of recombinant biologic drugs in development. Administration routes are changing with subcutaneous delivery (sub-C) using pre-filled syringes now preferred for patients requiring a frequent dosing regimen. Preparing mAbs at the high concentrations required to be able to administer sub-C doses in these small volumes presents challenges for sterile filtration.


High aggregate content and the high viscosities of concentrated mAbs affect both filter capacity and flux. Both factors are often compensated for by using oversized filters for what would traditionally be considered ‘small’ batch volumes.


Oversizing of sterilizing filters creates operational inefficiencies including excessive fluid hold-up volumes. This fluid is hard to recover, and the cost implications of this loss in yield is greater than for traditional IV drugs. In process development when fluid is scarce, yield loss can limit material availability for clinical trials.


Careful consideration and the right choice of filter can remove potential delays to the commercialization of a drug product and ensure long-term production efficiency.


Read more about maximizing recovery from high concentration mAb formulations  in our blog


Asymmetric filter membranes support production of liposomal drug formulations


Liposomes are the first nano drug delivery systems that have been successfully translated into real-time clinical applications, and are also used as adjuvants in vaccines. These nanosuspensions allow diversified routes of administration for both topical oral and injectable drug delivery.


Liposomal drug formulations tend to be hard to filter-sterilize compared with conventional formulations. Due to their large size (100-200 nm), liposomes are more likely to cause premature filter blocking compared to other parenteral drug types. Filter sizing needs to be considered carefully during the development of a liposome filtration process to avoid an oversized choice which may create excessive hold-up volumes and lead to product loss.


Select a sterilizing-grade filter with a high-capacity asymmetric membrane for liposomal fluids. These attributes combined with scalable formats with a high filtration area per standard 254 mm (10 in.) filter can facilitate a more compact filter system at production scale.


Need help choosing the right filter?


It can be challenging to specify a sterilizing-grade filter for complex formulations such as those containing liposomes, nanosuspensions, lipids, exosomes, emulsions, or surfactants. Choosing the right filter can remove potential commercialization delays and ensure production efficiency in the long term.  


Our Scientific and Laboratory Services (SLS) grpup have been helping customers optimize their processes for more than 50 years. Together with our wide range of filter membranes we can find the right filtration solution for your fluid or help to optimize your sterile filtration process.


Speak with one of our filtration specialists to discuss your process so that we can help you get it right.

Bioburden Reduction Liquid Filtration 0.45 µm or 0.2 µm Membranes

Efficient bioburden reduction in preparative applications
Efficient bioburden reduction in preparative applications
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Sterilizing-Grade Liquid Filtration 0.2 µm Membranes

Sterilizing-grade filtration for aseptic processing and fill-finish
Sterilizing-grade filtration for aseptic processing and fill-finish
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Enhanced Sterile Liquid Filtration with Mycoplasma Control

0.1 µm membranes for an extra level of safety assurance in preparative for cell culture media, and also in aseptic processing
0.1 µm membranes for an extra level of safety assurance in preparative for cell culture media, and also in aseptic processing
Read more