Year: 2020-21

Company: Sutro Biopharma

Liaison(s): Lisa Sawicki, Robert Hoffman, Bob Kiss

Sutro Biopharma, Inc. is a clinical stage biotech company founded in 2003. The company’s main focus is clinical stage drug discovery, development, and manufacturing of oncology therapeutics using its proprietary cell-free protein synthesis platform. Sutro’s manufacturing center in San Carlos, CA, and is the only cGMP cell-free synthesis manufacturing facility in the world. The company’s platform is not just limited to developing its own oncology pipeline. Sutro has collaborated with select pharmaceutical and biotech companies to discover and develop next generation therapeutics designed to target cancer cells.
Unlike the conventional methods of using a cell line for protein expression, Sutro’s cell-free platform utilizes extracts of cellular components to produce proteins. As a pioneer in this technology, Sutro would like to learn more about the efficiency of their process. In any mixing procedure, effective mixing is essential to obtain a homogeneous solution with high product quality. By means of a computer-based program, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) allows for in-depth characterization and easy visualization of mixing systems with minimal investment in engineering resources.

The goal of this TMP was to utilize CFD to simulate and quantitatively predict fluid flow in select unit operations in Sutro’s platform. We were tasked to characterize mixing in four cell-free synthesis bioreactors and identify relevant parameters to support scale up. In addition, residence time was determined by tracking particles through a static mixer at different flow rates. Overall, these models will help support better process understanding of the systems used in Sutro’s different unit operations.