Host cell proteins (HCPs) are process-related impurities generated during biotherapeutic protein production. HCPs can be problematic if they pose a significant metabolic demand, degrade product quality, or contaminate the final product. Here, we present an effort to create a “clean” Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell by disrupting multiple genes to eliminate HCPs. Using a model of CHO cell protein secretion, we predict that the elimination of unnecessary HCPs could have a non-negligible impact on protein production. We analyze the HCP content of 6-protein, 11-protein, and 14-protein knockout clones. These cell lines exhibit a substantial reduction in total HCP content (40%-70%). We also observe higher productivity and improved growth characteristics in specific clones. The reduced HCP content facilitates purification of a monoclonal antibody. Thus, substantial improvements can be made in protein titer and purity through large-scale HCP deletion, providing an avenue to increased quality and affordability of high-value biopharmaceuticals.
© 2020, The Author(s).