Current possibilities of liquid chromatography for the characterization of antibody-drug conjugates

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Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs) are innovative biopharmaceuticals gaining increasing attention over the last two decades. The concept of ADCs lead to new therapy approaches in numerous oncological indications as well in infectious diseases. Currently, around 60 CECs are in clinical trials indicating the expanding importance of this class of protein therapeutics.

ADCs show unprecedented intrinsic heterogeneity and address new quality attributes which have to be assessed. Liquid chromatography is one of the most frequently used analytical method for the characterization of ADCs. This review summarizes recent results in the chromatographic characterization of ADCs and supposed to provide a general overview on the possibilities and limitations of current approaches for the evaluation of drug load distribution, determination of average drug to antibody ratio (DARav), and for the analysis of process/storage related impurities. Hydrophobic interaction chromatography (HIC), reversed phase liquid chromatography (RPLC), size exclusion chromatography (SEC) and multidimensional separations are discussed focusing on the analysis of marketed ADCs. Fundamentals and aspects of method development are illustrated with applications for each technique. Future perspectives in hydrophilic interaction chromatography (HILIC), HIC, SEC and ion exchange chromatography (IEX) are also discussed.

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