Orbital Shaker Advantages
Maria de Jesus, Ph.D., co-founder of ExcellGene and COO, came up with the idea to shake cells in cylindrical 50 mL tubes at slow speed. This method produces little damage because cells move in a laminar flow manner with little shear stress and turbulence. The orbital shake method also caused no damage to cells when Drs. de Jesus and Wurm scaled up to 1, 5, 10, and 100 L volumes. Thus was born ExcellGene’s orbital shake platform of bioreactors. The orbital shake bioreactor system makes it easier to scale up production because the fluid hydrodynamics remain similar for all volumes, and no moving parts are needed for stirring. The latest innovation is a 2,500 L orbital shake reactor that is in development.
In addition to reducing cell damage, orbital shakers provide a large surface area for the exchange of gas. This large surface area results in superior oxygen transfer rates, compared to standard stainless steel tanks, and animal cells growing in orbital shakers grow better than in steel tanks. “We developed a system that combines two good things—low shear force and high gas transfer rate,” says Dr. Wurm.
ExcellGene teamed up with Kuhner to develop the orbital shake bioreactor system. Available bioreactors range from 50 mL to 2,000 L. They include the 50 mL (10 mL working volume) Cultiflask/TubeSpin® bioreactors; the 200 L (50–150 L working volume) OrbShake bioreactor fitted with disposable Sartorius Stedim Biotech cell culture bags; and the 2,000 L (500–1,500 L working volume) OrbShake bioreactor with disposable cell culture bags. All OrbShake bioreactors are based on a disposable bag technology that avoids the need for elaborate, costly, and tedious sterilization processes.