Chemometrically assisted development and validation of LC–MS/MS method for the analysis of potential genotoxic impurities in meropenem active pharmaceutical ingredient

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A sensitive Liquid Chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS) method was developed and validated for the quantitative analysis of three potential genotoxic impurities (318BP, M9, S5) in meropenem Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API). Due to the requirement for LOD values in ppb range, a high concentration of meropenem API (30 mg/mL) had to be injected. Therefore, efficient determination of meropenem from its impurities became a critical aim of this study, in order to divert meropenem to waste, via a switching valve. After the selection of the important factors affecting analytes’ elution, a Box-Behnken design was utilized to set the plan of experiments conducted with UV detector. As responses, the separation factor s between the last eluting impurity and meropenem, as well as meropenem retention factor k were used. Grid point search methodology was implemented aiming to obtain the optimal conditions that simultaneously comply to the conflicted criteria. Optimal mobile phase consisted of ACN, methanol and 0.09% HCOOH at a ratio 71/3.5/15.5 v/v. All impurities and internal standard omeprazole were eluted before 7.5 min and at 8.0 min the eluents were directed to waste. The protocol was transferred to LC–MS/MS and validated according to ICH guidelines.

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