Multi-Attribute Monitoring Method for Process Development of Engineered Antibody for Site-Specific Conjugation

Hines, Alistair R.; Edgeworth, Matthew; Devine, Paul W. A.; Shepherd, Samuel; Chatterton, Nicholas; Turner, Claire; Lilley, Kathryn S.; Chen, Xiaoyu and Bond, Nicholas J. (2023). Multi-Attribute Monitoring Method for Process Development of Engineered Antibody for Site-Specific Conjugation. Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, 34(7) pp. 1330–1341.



Antibody drug conjugates, a class of biotherapeutic proteins, have been extensively developed in recent years, resulting in new approvals and improved standard of care for cancer patients. Among the numerous strategies of conjugating cytotoxic payloads to monoclonal antibodies, insertion of a cysteine residue achieves a tightly controlled, site-specific drug to antibody ratio. Tailored analytical tools are required to direct the development of processes capable of manufacturing novel antibody scaffolds with the desired product quality. Here, we describe the development of a 12 min, mass-spectrometry-based method capable of monitoring four distinct quality attributes simultaneously: variations in the thiol state of the inserted cysteines, N-linked glycosylation, reduction of interchain disulfide bonds, and polypeptide fragmentation. This method provides new insight into the properties of the antibody intermediate and associated manufacturing processes. Oxidized thiol states are formed within the bioreactor, of which a variant containing an additional disulfide bond was produced and remained relatively constant throughout the fed-batch process; reduced thiol variants were introduced upon harvest. Nearly 20 percent of N-linked glycans contained sialic acid, substantially higher than anticipated for wildtype IgG1. Lastly, previously unreported polypeptide fragmentation sites were identified in the C239i constant domain, and the relationship between fragmentation and glycoform were explored. This work illustrates the utility of applying a high-throughput liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry multi-attribute monitoring method to support the development of engineered antibody scaffolds.

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