August 13, 2015

A Q&A With Prof. Alois Jungbauer: The Role of HIC in Biotech

Process Development Forum speaks with Professor Alois Jungbauer, Department of Biotechnology, BOKU, Vienna, about Hydrophobic Interaction Chromatography (HIC).

What is your view of HIC in the biotech industry today and its role in the future?
HIC is a powerful purification technique that is well established and will remain important in the future. It provides an orthogonal purification approach, excellent for aggregate removal, and in many cases, provides a unique selectivity. I am also convinced that HIC will be a useful tool for purification of some of the new types of biomolecules, such as antibody drug conjugates (ADC). I am aware that HIC is being considered complex. For me, this is an undeserved bad reputation, as I find HIC easy to optimize. It is one parameter less – pH – to really consider compared to ion exchangers. Having said that, there is another parameter that sometimes is overlooked in HIC studies and that is temperature. This could be especially important in tech transfer where differences arise in temperature conditions.

The 9th HIC/RPC conference was held in Valetta, Malta, earlier this year and you were the chairperson for the scientific committee. What was your take home-message from the conference?
My main take-home was the benefit of using HIC in antibody drug conjugate applications. At the conference, there was a keynote lecture on this topic presented by Guy de Roo, from Synthon Biopharmaceuticals. Another conclusion I drew from the conference was that there is little news in the fundamentals and theory of HIC. Today, this is a well understood technique and we know the theory. Maybe a bit surprisingly was that there was not much discussion about the dual-salt approach that frequently discussed years ago. Maybe it was not as advantageous as first indicated?

At the conference there were presentations on multimodal chromatography. How do you value multimodal chromatography compared to HIC?
Multimodal chromatography is more complex than HIC. It is a good thing with the development of high throughput techniques and Design of Experiments. Otherwise, the multimodal chromatography approach would have been even more challenging. If we know the theory of HIC, we need to learn much more about the fundamentals of multimodal chromatography. I think this could be very important in the era of QbD and increased process understanding.

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Tags: Hydrophobic Interaction Chromatography