Economic analysis of royalactin production under uncertainty: Evaluating the effect of parameter optimization
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© 2015 The Authors Biotechnology Progress published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Royalactin is a protein with several different potential uses in humans. Research, in insects and in mammalian cells, has shown that it can accelerate cell division and prevent apoptosis. The method of action is through the use of the epidermal growth factor receptor, which is present in humans. Potential use in humans could be to lower cholesterolemic levels in blood, and to elicit similar effects to those seen in bees, e.g., increased lifespan. Mass production of Royalactin has not been accomplished, though a recent article presented a Pichia pastoris fermentation and recovery by aqueous two-phase systems at laboratory scale as a possible basis for production. Economic modelling is a useful tool with which compare possible outcomes for the production of such a molecule and in particular, to locate areas where additional research is needed and optimization may be required. This study uses the BioSolve software to perform an economic analysis on the scale-up of the putative process for Royalactin. The key parameters affecting the cost of production were located via a sensitivity analysis and then evaluated by Monte Carlo analysis. Results show that if titer is not optimized the strategy to maintain a low cost of goods is process oriented. After optimization of this parameter the strategy changes to a product-oriented and the target output becomes the critical parameter determining the cost of goods. This study serves to provide a framework for the evaluation of strategies for future production of Royalactin, by analyzing the factors that influence its cost of manufacture.