Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry

Modern analytics for synthetically derived complex drug substances: NMR, AFFF-MALS, and MS tests for glatiramer acetate.

PMID 26458562


Glatiramer acetate (GA) is a mixture of synthetic copolymers consisting of four amino acids (glutamic acid, lysine, alanine, and tyrosine) with a labeled molecular weight range of 5000 to 9000 Da. GA is marketed as Copaxone™ by Teva for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Here, the agency has evaluated the structure and composition of GA and a commercially available comparator, Copolymer-1. Modern analytical technologies which can characterize these complex mixtures are desirable for analysis of their comparability and structural "sameness." In the studies herein, a molecular fingerprinting approach is taken using mass-accurate mass spectrometry (MS) analysis, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) (1D-(1)H-NMR, 1D-(13)C-NMR, and 2D NMR), and asymmetric field flow fractionation (AFFF) coupled with multi-angle light scattering (MALS) for an in-depth characterization of three lots of the marketplace drug and a formulated sample of the comparator. Statistical analyses were applied to the MS and AFFF-MALS data to assess these methods' ability to detect analytical differences in the mixtures. The combination of multiple orthogonal measurements by liquid chromatography coupled with MS (LC-MS), AFFF-MALS, and NMR on the same sample set was found to be fit for the intended purpose of distinguishing analytical differences between these complex mixtures of peptide chains.