Particle size distribution, a measurable physicochemical quantity, is a critical quality attribute of drug products that needs to be controlled in drug manufacturing. The non-invasive methods of dynamic light scattering (DLS) and Diffusion Ordered SpectroscopY (DOSY) NMR can be used to measure diffusion coefficient and derive the corresponding hydrodynamic radius. However, little is known about their use and sensitivity as analytical tools for particle size measurement of formulated protein therapeutics. Here, DLS and DOSY-NMR methods are shown to be orthogonal and yield identical diffusion coefficient results for a homogenous monomeric protein standard, ribonuclease A. However, different diffusion coefficients were observed for five insulin drug products measured using the two methods. DOSY-NMR yielded an averaged diffusion coefficient among fast exchanging insulin oligomers, ranging between dimer and hexamer in size. By contrast, DLS showed several distinct species, including dimer, hexamer, dodecamer and other aggregates. The heterogeneity or polydisperse nature of insulin oligomers in formulation caused DOSY-NMR and DLS results to differ from each other. DLS measurements provided more quality attributes and higher sensitivity to larger aggregates than DOSY-NMR. Nevertheless, each method was sensitive to a different range of particle sizes and complemented each other. The application of both methods increases the assurance of complex drug quality in this similarity comparison.
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Dynamic light scattering
Diffusion Ordered SpectroscopY
Nuclear magnetic resonance
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We thank Darón Freedberg, Marcos Battistel, and Hugo Azurmendi for the assistance in setting up the DOSY-NMR experiments and for their helpful discussions. Support for this work comes from the US FDA CDER Critical Path funds and is gratefully acknowledged.
This article reflects the views of the author and should not be construed to represent US FDA’s views or policies.
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Patil, S.M., Keire, D.A. & Chen, K. Comparison of NMR and Dynamic Light Scattering for Measuring Diffusion Coefficients of Formulated Insulin: Implications for Particle Size Distribution Measurements in Drug Products. AAPS J 19, 1760–1766 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1208/s12248-017-0127-z
- particle size distribution
- physicochemical equivalence
- protein drug product