Profiling of dalcetrapib metabolites in human plasma by accelerator mass spectrometry and investigation of the free phenothiol by derivatisation with methylacrylate

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Dalcetrapib, a thioester prodrug, undergoes rapid and complete conversion in vivo to its phenothiol metabolite M1 which exerts the targeted pharmacological response in human. In clinical studies, M1 has been quantified together with its dimer and mixed disulfide species that represent the ‘dalcetrapib active form’ in plasma. In this article, we describe the determination of the free phenothiol M1 by derivatisation with methylacrylate as a percentage of ‘dalcetrapib active form’. Pharmacokinetic profiles of M1 after oral administration of dalcetrapib to humans could be established, underscoring the validity to use a composite measure of ‘dalcetrapib active form’ as a surrogate marker for pharmacodynamic evaluations. ‘Dalcetrapib active form’ and M1 made up 8.9% and 3.6% of total drug-related material, respectively. In addition, complete metabolite profiling of 14C-labeled dalcetrapib was conducted after two-dimensional HPLC using fast fractionation into 384-well plates and ultrasensitive determination of the 14C-content by accelerator mass spectrometry. M1 underwent further biotransformation to its S-methyl metabolite M3, which was further oxidized to its sulfoxide and sulfone. Another metabolic pathway was the formation of the S-glucuronide. All of these species underwent further oxidation in the ethylbutyl cyclohexyl moiety leading to a multitude of hydroxyl and keto metabolites undergoing further conjugation to O-glucuronides. More than 80 metabolites were identified, demonstrating extensive metabolism. However, it was unambiguously demonstrated that none of these metabolites were major according to the MIST guideline (exceeding 10% of drug related material in circulation). The combination of accelerator mass spectrometry with HPLC together with high resolution mass spectrometry allowed for structural characterization of the most relevant human metabolites.

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