CellMaker bioreactor systems rely on Watson-Marlow’s 300 series laboratory pumps for ease of use and flexibility

Published: 6-Jun-2024

In the laboratory, researchers and biopharmaceutical manufacturers need a bioreactor that is simple to use and has the capacity to switch between producing different batches without contamination

For this reason, Cellexus International is using Watson-Marlow 323Du/D and 323Du/RL peristaltic pumps with Pumpsil tubing in its popular CellMaker bioreactor range — owing to the ease of use and flexibility of being able to switch between pumpheads. 

Cellexus (Dundee, UK) provides single-use CellMaker bioreactor systems for cell culture and fermentation applications, including the production of bacteriophages, aerobic and anaerobic fermentation processes, cellular agriculture, protein production, monoclonal antibody production, stem cell culture and virus production. 

In April 2024, Watson-Marlow suggested the 323Du/RL pump as an additional option with the CellMaker, providing increased flow rates (up to 2200 mL/min) to cater for customers that need quicker bioreactor fills.

Since 2020, the Watson-Marlow 323Du/D has been an optional purchase for a dispensing pump with the CellMaker, for filling and emptying the CellMaker bags, dosing and feeding the bioreactor, fed-batch and continuous fermentation. 

CellMaker bioreactor systems rely on Watson-Marlow’s 300 series laboratory pumps for ease of use and flexibility

The 323Du/D peristaltic pump can be integrated with CellMaker’s systems and software and features a pumphead for 1.6–8.0 mm ID tubing. It is controlled manually or via the CellMaker Controller software to automate pumping for semibatch applications.

The single-use CellMaker uses Cellexus’ patented airlift technology to aerate and mix cells … and can produce a range of cell types in working volumes from 1.5–50.0 L.

The 323Du/D also fulfils Cellexus' requirement for a space-efficient solution, given that, like the CellMaker, it has a relatively small laboratory footprint. The 323Du/RL offers increased capacity with the same connectivity and other benefits as the 323Du/D.

Adam Ostrowski, Technical Application Specialist at Cellexus, said: “It’s easy to use with integrated control and offers flexibility with the selection of pumpheads. Users can operate multiple diameters of tubing which is important because that increases the usability of the pump.”

“The pump saves time because it’s quick to use, easy to connect and doesn’t require a specialist to run the pump. There are very few things that can go wrong with it, which minimises downtime. Its small footprint is also important.”

“With the pumphead being adjustable and changeable, it is an advantage for our customers. One had quite specific requirements and I worked with the Watson-Marlow sales engineer and technical team to choose the combination of pump and pumpheads to match the needs of the customer. We closed the deal on that accessory.” 

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“Now, the addition of the Watson-Marlow 323Du/RL pump to the list of accessory equipment for the CellMaker allows us to expand the portfolio of options available to our customers even further.”

One of the key features of the CellMaker is the airlift technology, which is the bubbling of gases through the bioreactor to mix the media containing cells, instead of using a mechanical mixing arm or wave motion.

This provides gentle and efficient mixing of the cell culture, ensuring optimal oxygen and nutrient transfer, and preventing shear stress and cell damage.

Inside every sterile CellMaker bioreactor is a sparge tube, which is used to distribute gases, such as air, oxygen, nitrogen or carbon dioxide through the bioreactor contents. Ostrowski added: “Customers use these pumps to put cells into the bioreactor; so, gentle, low shear pumping action is important.”

Cellexus has sold the CellMaker to 11 different countries and the company is seeing increased demand for its bioreactors.

Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Solutions (WMFTS) is supporting Cellexus with its growth plans and recently advised about the additional option of the 323Du/RL for larger volumes. The 323Du/D, which can achieve a flow rate of up to 2000 mL/min, can be used with all models of CellMaker with biocompatible Pumpsil tubing from WMFTS. 

Claire Hutchison, Life Science Sales Specialist at Watson-Marlow, said: “It’s a privilege to witness the global utilisation of our Watson-Marlow 323Du/D pumps in conjunction with Cellexus's patented bioreactor technology, particularly within influential domains such as cell therapy.”

“Through recent discussions with our customer, we have also recognised that the adoption of our Watson-Marlow 323Du/RL pump can provide Cellexus and its clientele with enhanced efficiency in bioreactor fills, thanks to the heightened capacity it offers.”

“We pride ourselves on designing innovative fluid management solutions. Witnessing the synergy between our fluid pathway solutions and Cellexus’s exceptional bioreactor system is truly gratifying. I look forward to continued collaboration with Cellexus as they expand globally.”

Key features and benefits of the 300 series laboratory pumps from WMFTS include the following:

  • manual or remote 4-20 mA or 0-10 V analogue autocontrol or RS232 control commands
  • up to 133:1 enhanced digital manual speed control
  • keypad lock prevents tampering or accidental changes
  • MemoDose facility for accurate single-shot dosing
  • digital TTL inputs for run/stop and direction
  • instantly reversible
  • stackable, up to three pumps high
  • 2-year warranty.

Fiona Bellot, Sales Director at Cellexus, said: “We saw 69% growth in CellMaker system sales in 2023 with an even more ambitious pipeline for 2024."

"The unique, purely airlift single-use system offers flexibility, scalability and has been shown in independent data to be more sustainable than using reusable stainless-steel bioreactors. The flexibility of the CellMaker bioreactor means there is now demand for scaled-up and scaled-out models with a Dual Plus and a 100 L system in the development pipeline.”

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