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Development of a system to evaluate compound identity, purity, and concentration in a single experiment and its application in quality assessment of combinatorial libraries and screening hits.

  • Yurek, David A1
  • Branch, Derek L
  • Kuo, Ming-Shang
  • 1 Discovery Technologies, Pharmacia Corporation, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49001, USA.
Published Article
Journal of combinatorial chemistry
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2002
PMID: 11886288


The development and use of a new assay system for the simultaneous determination of identity, purity, and concentration of sample components from combinatorial libraries produced by parallel synthesis are described. The system makes use of high-performance liquid chromatography with UV/vis photodiode array (PDA), evaporative light scattering (ELSD), chemiluminescent nitrogen (CLND), and time-of-flight mass spectrometer (TOFMS) detectors (HPLC-PDA-ELSD-CLND-TOFMS). Although these detectors have previously been utilized separately for the analysis of combinatorial chemistry libraries, the use of TOFMS along with CLND provides a synergistic combination enabling target and side-product structures to be identified and their concentrations and purities determined in a single experiment from a solution containing microgram levels of material. The CLND was found to give a linear response based on the number of moles of nitrogen present. Therefore, if the number of nitrogens per molecule is known, the concentration of each nitrogen-containing sample component may be determined utilizing an unrelated co-injected standard. A molecular formula for an impurity may often be calculated from the exact mass determined by the TOFMS and knowledge of the chemistry involved. Thus, if the sample components contain nitrogen, the concentration of every identified HPLC peak may be determined even in the absence of primary standards. This combination of detectors enabled the characterization of both target compounds and byproducts in combinatorial libraries, allowing the optimization of library synthetic procedures. This system was also used to survey the quality of libraries, enabling the selection of the best libraries for screening. This method also facilitated the characterization of samples from combinatorial libraries found as hits in high-throughput screening to establish the potency of the leads based on their actual concentration. In addition, concentrations and potencies of impurities were determined after identification of their structures, utilizing exact mass data, determination of charge states, and knowledge of the synthetic chemistry.

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