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Identification and quantification of host cell protein impurities in biotherapeutics using mass spectrometry

Authors
Journal
Analytical Biochemistry
0003-2697
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
428
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.ab.2012.05.018
Keywords
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Host Cell Proteins
  • Quantification
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Medicine

Abstract

Abstract Residual host cell proteins (HCPs) in biotherapeutics can present potential safety risks to patients or compromise product stability. As such, their levels are typically monitored using a multicomponent HCP enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to ensure adequate removal. However, it is not possible to guarantee ELISA coverage of every possible HCP impurity, and the specific HCPs remaining following purification are rarely identified. In the current study, we characterized the ability of an advanced two-dimensional liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry platform (2D–LC/MSE) to identify and quantify known low-level spiked protein impurities in a therapeutic peptide Fc fusion protein. The label-free quantification procedure based on the “top 3” intensity tryptic peptides per protein was applied and improved on for this application. Limits of detection for unknown HCPs were approximated from the spiked protein data along with estimates for the quantitative accuracy of the method. In all, we established that most protein impurities present at 13±4ppm can be identified with a quantitative error of less than 2-fold using the more sensitive of two tested method formats. To conclude the study, we characterized all detectable Escherichia coli proteins present in this Fc fusion protein drug substance and discuss future applications of the method.

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