ExpiCHO Expression System

Maintain protein quality and function from research to bioproduction

Switching from 293 to CHO cells during drug development may cost you precious time and create uncertainty. Now there’s a better way. The Gibco ExpiCHO Expression System provides the highest protein yields possible in a transient system. That means you can always work in CHO cells, starting from discovery.

“The ExpiCHO system helps speed up our developmental timelines by eliminating the need to have different hosts for transient versus stable expression. This eliminates a key quality risk when we transition from research into development.”  Biotechnology company


ExpiCHO protocol video and webcasts

Review these videos to learn how to produce recombinant proteins using the ExpiCHO system and also to hear about the latest advances in protein expression from industry experts.

What’s in the system?

The ExpiCHO Expression System brings together a high-expressing CHO cell line, a chemically defined animal origin–free culture medium, an optimized culture feed, and a high-efficiency transfection reagent.

  • 2 vials of frozen Gibco ExpiCHO-S Cells
  • 1 liter of Gibco ExpiCHO Expression Medium
  • 1 Gibco ExpiFectamine CHO Transfection Kit, sufficient to transfect 1 liter of culture
  • Gibco OptiPRO Serum-Free Medium
  • An antibody-expressing positive control vector

Get up to 20x more protein in less volume

The ExpiCHO Expression System is designed to deliver superior protein yields compared to alternative transient systems, saving you precious time, incubator space, and plasticware costs.  Now you can express the same amount of protein in a single flask that other transient CHO systems express in 20 or more flasks.

“The higher titers achieved by the ExpiCHO system… saves us considerable time, effort, and money."  Bonnie Hammer, PhD, Vice President of Biologics Development, Invenra

Figure 1. Recombinant protein titers in ExpiCHO and other transient CHO system. Expression levels of human IgG, rabbit IgG and erythropoietin in ExpiCHO and other transient CHO expression system are shown. ExpiCHO titers range from 25–160 times those of other transient CHO systems.

Titer comparison in ExpiCHO and Expi293 systems

Expression levels of human IgG, rabbit IgG, murine IgG, and a broad range of non-Ab proteins in Expi293 or other transient expression systems and ExpiCHO systems are shown. IgG titers in ExpiCHO system range from 0.6–97–fold (Avg. 5-fold) than those obtained using various other systems. Additionally, 7 proteins from this panel were not expressed in Expi293 cells yet expressed at high levels in the ExpiCHO system.

Protein Expi293 or current sytem (mg/L) ExpiCHO (mg/L) Fold increase
Human antibody 26.6 2,580 97
  4 147 33
  4 56 14.6
  22 266 12.4
  48 334 6.9
  36 190 5.3
  18 78 4.3
  85 314 3.7
  170 410 2.4
  138 325 2.4
  25 50 2.0
  102 204 2.0
  57 92 1.6
  336 491 1.5
  565 864 1.5
  450 600 1.3
  350 450 1.3
  309 383 1.2
  243 276 1.1
  352 371 1.1
  565 620 1.1
  309 302 1.0
  139 129 0.9
  11 9 0.8
  565 365 0.6
  Undetectable 500  
  Precipitated 330  
Protein Expi293 or current sytem (mg/L) ExpiCHO (mg/L) Fold increase
Rabbit antibody 5 120 20
  17 178 11
Murine antibody 216 1,412 6.5
  20 86 4.3
  60 240 4.0
  60 240 4.0
  76 196 2.6
  12 18 1.5
  16 17 1.1
  119 48 0.4
  135 47 0.3
Protein Expi293 or current sytem (mg/L) ExpiCHO (mg/L) Fold increase
Bi-TE Western blot Western blot 25
Bi-specific 28 117 4.2
  26 90 3.5
  126 250 2.0
  NA 763  
  NA 660  
Secreted 216 1412 6.5
Protein Expi293 or current sytem (mg/L) ExpiCHO (mg/L) Fold increase
Non-Ab 15 82 5.5
  Western blot Western blot 5.0
  164 68 0.4
  NA 206  
Fab 85 366 4.3
  10 10 1.0
FC-fusion 5 8 1.7
His Tag HLA Undetectable 12 12
Viral protein Western blot Western blot 3–5
Cytokine Western blot Western blot 5–10
FcR Western blot Western blot 2–3

ExpiCHO System cost-effectiveness

Table 1. ExpiCHO is cost-effective compared to other transient expression systems.

NOTE: Cost comparison based on list price in USD and protein yields of 1.5 g/L with ExpiCHO system, 1 g/L with Expi293 system, and 0.05 g/L with FreeStyle CHO system.

  ExpiCHO Expression System Expi293 Expression System FreeStyle CHO Expression System PEI MAX + TransFx-C MaxCyte + TransFx-C
Cost of 1L transfection $2,174 $1,735 $1,201 $544 $2,999
Culture volume for equivalent yield 70 mL 100 mL 2,000 mL 1,500 mL 100 mL
Total cost for same amount of protein $146 $174 $2,403 $2,403 $997*
*Factors in minimum cost of a MaxCyte processing assembly and a portion of the upfront cost of purchasing a MaxCyte electroporation instrument.

Choose a system that flexes to fit every phase of your development process

The ExpiCHO Expression System provides multiple protocols to fit your workflow. The system can scale up or down based on your needs for greater throughput early in discovery or higher yields as you focus on selected proteins.

“The ExpiCHO system is so easy it takes less work than making proteins in E. coli. The scalability of the system is fantastic. I can express 30 different mAbs simultaneously, and then pick the ones I like and scale up to grams. The ExpiCHO system is a revolutionary lifesaver for us.”  Arjen van den Berg, PhD, Senior Scientist, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of California at San Diego


Thermo Scientific Nalgene sterile single-use Erlenmeyer flasks

Sterile, single-use Thermo Scientific Nalgene flasks are made from light, break-resistant, crystal-clear PETG, so you can express with confidence. All sizes are available in vented or non-vented formats, and with plain or baffled bottoms for use on the benchtop or shaker table. See protocol for flasks validated with ExpiCHO Expression system.


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