Quantification of an intact monoclonal antibody, rituximab, by (RP)HPLC/DAD in compliance with ICH guidelines

Navas, Natalia; Herrera, Agustín; Martínez-Ortega, Antonio; Salmerón-García, Antonio; Cabeza, José; Cuadros-Rodríguez, Luis
November 2013
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Nov2013, Vol. 405 Issue 27, p9351
Academic Journal
We studied the quantification of an intact therapeutic monoclonal antibody (mAb), rituximab (RTX), using (reverse-phase) high-performance liquid chromatography with diode array detection ((RP)HPLC/DAD). To this end, we developed a chromatographic method and validated it as stability-indicating in accordance with the International Conference on Harmonization guidelines (ICH). A 300-Å C8 column (250 mm × 4.6 mm, 5 μm) was used to perform the analysis, and the temperature was maintained at 70 °C. Although only one mAb was analyzed, it was necessary to apply a gradient to elute it with a complex organic mixture. Chromatograms were registered at several wavelengths, with λ = 214 nm employed for quantification purposes. The method was developed to quantify marketed RTX under typical hospital administration conditions. Further dilution was avoided in order to prevent additional mAb modification, and in this way the method was shown to be linear from 60 to 5000 mg/L. The precision of the method (repeatability and intermediate precision, estimated as the relative standard deviation, RSD %), was less than 1.0 %. Accuracy, specificity, robustness, and system suitability were also evaluated as specified in the ICH guidelines. We conducted a comprehensive chromatographic analysis by submitting RTX to several informative stress conditions. These forced degradation studies were conducted for two reasons: to estimate the specificity of the method, and to evaluate the robustness of the mAb formulation against external stress factors when handling it in preparation for administration. Thus, we investigated the effects of acid, base, oxidation, ionic strength, temperature, and UV light. Although a slight modification to the intact mAb could not be distinguished chromatographically in the stress studies we conducted, the procedure proposed here to evaluate peak purity enabled us to detect it with a satisfactory level of confidence. The proposed method could therefore be considered stability-indicating for quantyfying the intact mAb since it is qualified to detect its degradation/modification. Finally, the method was used to evaluate RTX in a long-term stability study performed under hospital conditions of use.


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