Press Release: New Collaboration to Understand Variability in Cell Culture Media

New Collaboration to Understand Variability in Cell Culture Media

  • Kerry Group, National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) and ValitaCell today announce a strategic collaboration to validate the role of protein hydrolysates in cell culture media during the commercial manufacture of biotherapeutics.
  • The project is supported by Enterprise Ireland under the Innovation Partnership programme.


Dublin, Ireland, 13th May 2022: The manufacture of biotherapeutics at a commercial scale is a complex process that involves the growth of mammalian cells in a multi-component liquid media.   Kerry has commercialised protein hydrolysates from various sources as bioactive components to be used in mammalian cell cultures for the large-scale production of biotherapeutics including monoclonal antibodies. The raw material for the production of these hydrolysates include plant and microbial sources such as soy, yeast, cotton and wheat. The hydrolysates are chemically undefined and contain complex composition dependent on the raw material used. 

The challenge for the biopharmaceutical industry is that cell culture media is one of the most difficult components to control.

Kerry has commercialised breakdown products of proteins known as hydrolysates to be used in cell cultures for the large-scale production of therapeutics including monoclonal antibodies. Over the past 10 years Kerry has invested significantly to improve product consistency and this project aims to further this research by understanding key factors that can impact product performance.

Speaking about the collaboration Vivien Sheehan, Global VP RD&A & Regulatory AH&N at Kerry Group commented:

‘’We at Kerry are delighted to collaborate with NIBRT & ValitaCell to further  enhance our understanding of our hydrolysates.  ValitaCell’s novel  Chemstress platform and NIBRTs expertise will support in developing this understanding and help Kerry in producing the next generation of plant & microbial based hydrolysates for the production of biotheraputics. We are thankful for the continued support from Enterprise Ireland for Kerry’s research and development activities across multiple end use markets’’.

Biotechnology company ValitaCell will provide access to its Chemstress® platform, a novel technology to characterise the behaviour of cells using a panel of specific, small molecule chemical stressors. The assay is carried out on a multiwell plate and enables the rapid screening of the robustness of cells within the specific environment of each well.

Dr. Jerry Clifford, CEO at ValitaCell remarked:

ValitaCell have invested significant resources in our Chemstress platform to provide scientists with a Biological prism of their manufacturing environment, in microscale. Working with Kerry Group and NIBRT on this specific validation problem is a great opportunity to demonstrate the power of our technology in the Cell Culture media component sector”.

The programme of work will be conducted at the state of the art facilities at NIBRT under the guidance of Prof. Michael Butler. In response to the collaboration Prof Michael Butler, Principal Investigator in the Cell Technology Group at NIBRT said:

‘’We are delighted at NIBRT to receive funding from Enterprise Ireland in collaboration with the Kerry Group and ValitaCell to enable a study of the bioactive properties of plant and microbial sourced hydrolysates using the Chemstress platform technology.  This research will enable an understanding of the functional role of hydrolysates in cell culture media that will promote the efficient production of biotherapeutics from bioprocesses’’. 





Media contacts:

Emer Norton

Marketing and Communications Manager

National Institute of Bioprocessing Research and Training


About the National Institute of Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT)

 NIBRT’s mission is to help the growth and development of the biopharma manufacturing industry by providing cutting edge training and research solutions. The Institute is based on an innovative collaboration between Industry, Government and Academia and opened its world class facility in 2011 in Dublin, Ireland.

The facility was primarily funded by the Government of Ireland through Ireland’s inward investment promotion agency, IDA Ireland (Industrial Development Agency), which is responsible for the attraction and development of foreign investment in Ireland.

NIBRT offers a training and research experience not previously possible anywhere in the world.