Monday, April 25, 2011

What's That in My Protein? Degraded Polysorbate Again?

By Dr. Sheri Glaub

Mahler, et. al. have recently published a paper in Pharmaceutical Research entitled, “The Degradation of Polysorbates 20 and 80 and its Potential Impact on the Stability of Biotherapeutics.” (Subscription required.) As discussed in the paper, polysorbates are the most widely used non-ionic surfactants for stabilizing protein pharmaceuticals against interface-induced aggregation and surface adsorption.
Unknown Blogger uses a beater to induce aggregation in a protein solution

Concerns with polysorbate lot-to-lot variability, as well as potential degradation products prompted the authors to investigate the impact on four different monoclonal antibodies (mAbs).  They performed an extensive characterization of polysorbate degradation products, both volatile and insoluble, which included a number of ketones, aldehydes, furanones, fatty acids, and fatty acid esters. They then examined the effect of degraded PS on these proteins.

They concluded that as long as threshold levels of PS20 and PS80 were present (in this case >0.01%), the stability of the four mAbs in pharmaceutically relevant storage conditions (2-8 °C) was maintained despite observed polysorbate degradation.
The authors also suggest during formulation development one evaluate carefully the amount of PS to be used, considering the shelf life and potential behavior during storage.

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