Virus removal filter paper for cost-efficient and safe biologics manufacturing

The VIREPAP team has invented the world’s first virus removal paper, capable of eliminating even the smallest viruses from protein solutions. EIT Health is supporting work to validate this innovation, which could greatly reduce the cost of producing biologic drugs.


Ensuring drug safety against viruses is the most expensive task in bioprocessing. Uppsala University has traditionally been strong in protein separation and purification science, as well as pharmaceutics. Combining knowledge in cellulosic nanomaterials with an understanding of biologics manufacturing allowed for production of a virus removal filter for bioprocessing using traditional hot-press paper-making technology rather than phase inversion membrane manufacturing.


The project consortium consists of three partners: Uppsala University (project leader); Bayer (global industrial partner); and Nvigorea AB (the start-up commercialising the invention).

The project

The virus removal filter paper that is being validated by this project can allow for a manifold increase in the cost-efficiency of manufacturing biologics, which are drugs produced from, or containing, living organisms. Biologics are used to in vaccines and treatments for a wide range of illnesses, but roughly half the costs of manufacturing these substances are spent on virus clearance measures.

The technology being tested by the VIREPAP project opens possibilities to improve the performance of virus filters to meet the demands of the industry for faster, more productive manufacturing, as well as the demands of governments for lower-priced drugs. Given the conservative nature of the biotechnology industry in adopting new technology, many verification studies are needed to allow for industrial and regulatory acceptance of this solution.

The verification studies conducted by this project will target upstream and downstream bioprocessing. EIT Health funding will be used to validate the paradigm-shifting filter technology in an industrial setting, to demonstrate potential cost savings in real life, and to evaluate business models of commercialisation.


Biologics are unique drugs that improve the life-expectancy and life-quality of the patients with conditions ranging from cancer to hereditary deficiencies to autoimmune diseases. Reducing the manufacturing costs, and subsequently the price, of biologics will have long-lasting positive effects on patients, the drug industry and healthcare systems/payers.

Why this is an EIT Health project

This project is in keeping with EIT Health’s Focus area of Improving Care Pathways because it involves the design and evidence-based implementation of an innovation to improve care and health delivery solutions.

External partner

  • Nvigorea AB
Professor Albert Mihranyan
| Professor | Uppsala University
Dr. Klaus Kaiser
| Head Downstream Development | Bayer