A Strategy for Assessing Peak Purity of Pharmaceutical Peptides in Reversed-Phase Chromatography Methods using Two-Dimensional Liquid Chromatography Coupled to Mass Spectrometry. Part II: Development of Second-Dimension Gradient Conditions

Stoll, Dwight R.; Sylvester, Maria; Euerby, Melvin R.; Buckenmaier, Stephan M.C. and Petersson, Patrik (2023). A Strategy for Assessing Peak Purity of Pharmaceutical Peptides in Reversed-Phase Chromatography Methods using Two-Dimensional Liquid Chromatography Coupled to Mass Spectrometry. Part II: Development of Second-Dimension Gradient Conditions. Journal of Chromatography A, article no. 463873.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chroma.2023.463873

Abstract

The importance of therapeutic peptides continues to increase in the marketplace for treating a range of diseases including diabetes and obesity. Quality control analyses for these pharmaceutical ingredients usually depends on reversed-phase liquid chromatography, and it is critically important to ensure that no impurities coelute with the target peptide at levels that would compromise the safety or effectiveness of the drug products. This can be challenging due to the broad range of properties of impurities that can be present on one hand (e.g., amino acid substitutions, chain cleavages, etc.), and the similarity of other impurities on the other hand (e.g., D- / L- isomers). Two-dimensional liquid chromatography (2D-LC) is a powerful analytical tool that is well suited to address this particular problem; the first dimension can be used to detect impurities over a broad range in properties, while the second dimension can be used to focus specifically on those species that might coelute with the target peptide in the first dimension. While hundreds of papers have been published on the use of 2D-LC for proteomics applications, there are very few papers that have focused on its use for characterisation of therapeutic peptides. This paper is the second in a two-part series. In Part I of the series, we studied several different column / mobile phase combinations that could be useful in 2D-LC separations of therapeutic peptides, with a focus on selectivity, peak shape, and complementarity to other combinations, particularly for isomeric peptides under mass spectrometry-friendly conditions (i.e., volatile buffers). In this second part in the series, we describe a strategy to derive second-dimension (2D) gradient conditions that both, ensure elution from the 2D column, and increase the likelihood of resolving peptides with very similar properties. We find that a two-step process yields conditions that place the target peptide in the middle of the 2D chromatogram. This process begins with two scouting gradient elution conditions in the second dimension of a 2D-LC system, followed by building and refining a retention model for the target peptide using a third separation. The process is shown to be generically useful by developing methods for four model peptides, and application to a sample of degraded model peptide to demonstrate its utility for resolving impurities in a real sample.

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