The Degradation of Polysorbates 20 and 80 and its Potential Impact on the Stability of Biotherapeutics
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To study the potential impact of the degradation of Polysorbates (PS) 20 and 80 on the stability of therapeutic proteins in parenteral formulations.
First, degradation products of PS20 and 80 were identified. Subsequently, the effect of degraded polysorbate on physical characteristics and long-term stability of protein formulations was assessed. Further, the impact of polysorbate degradation on protein stability was evaluated via shaking stress studies on formulations spiked with artificially degraded polysorbate or degradants like fatty acids. Additionally, aged formulations with reduced polysorbate content were shaken.
The degradation of polysorbate leads to a buildup of various molecules, some of which are poorly soluble, including fatty acids and polyoxyethylene (POE) esters of fatty acids. Spiking studies showed that the insoluble degradants could potentially impact protein stability and that the presence of sufficient intact polysorbate was crucial to prevent this. End-of-shelf-life shaking of protein formulations showed that the stability of various monoclonal antibodies was, however, not affected.
Although some degradants can potentially influence the stability of the protein (as discerned from spiking studies), degradation of polysorbates did not impact the stability of the different proteins tested in pharmaceutically relevant temperature and storage conditions.
KEY WORDSauto-oxidation degradation hydrolysis polysorbate protein formulations surfactant
The authors wish to thank Dr. Balz Fischer and B. Gessier for SBSE-GC-MS measurements, Dr. Heribert Dolt and Dr. Siegfred Stolz for FT-MS measurements, Dr. Alfred Ross for NMR measurements, Dr. Monira Siam for FT-IR measurements, Dr. Andreas Staempfli for GC-MS measurements, and Christian Lehrmayer, Thomas Steffen and Martin Weiss for their help in the experimental work.
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