This review provides a comprehensive overview of methodological advances and applications of CE in the analysis and characterization of recombinant therapeutic and diagnostic proteins over the past two decades. The first part of the review discusses various aspects of biotechnological protein production and the related effects on the final product. This covers upstream processes, e.g., selection and transfection of host cells, up-scaling of cell cultures and cultivation conditions, as well as downstream processing and a discussion of future trends in biotechnological manufacturing. This part is essential for relating biotechnological production to analytical challenges and requirements in order to provide a holistic insight. In this context, the influence of manufacturing steps on the quality of the final drug substance/product is discussed in terms of related post-translational modifications of the target molecule with a major focus on glycosylation pattern and conformational effects. Particular attention is given to host cell specific and non-human modifications affecting the efficacy and safety of recombinant products. Endowed with this propaedeutic knowledge, the major part of the review discusses the manifold contributions of different CE techniques to the development and optimization of the manufacturing process, to the evaluation and characterization of the final drug product and their role in quality control. Different CE techniques, such as CZE, capillary gel electrophoresis (CGE), (imaged) capillary isoelectric focusing ((i)CIEF), µChipCE, CE-Western blot, affinity CE (ACE), and CE-MS are discussed including a brief introduction in the respective separation and hyphenation principle as well as their applications in the analysis of different recombinant biologics together with recent strategies. The addressed analyte portfolio comprises a vast variety of recombinant proteins with molecular masses from 4.1kDa up to 20.3 MDa (for recombinant virus-like particles), and a pI range from 2.0 to 11.2. Antibodies are not explicitly covered in the survey. The review is complemented by compiling validation aspects and proposed suitability tests in order to assure the feasibility of methods to industrial and pharmaceutical needs.

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