Structural and functional analysis of CEX fractions collected from a novel avastin® biosimilar candidate and its innovator: a comparative study

Gürel, Büşra and Berksoz, Melike and Çapkın, Eda and Parlar, Ayhan and Pala, Meltem Çorbacıoğlu and Özkan, Aylin and Capan, Yılmaz and Dağlıkoca, Duygu Emine and Yüce, Meral (2022) Structural and functional analysis of CEX fractions collected from a novel avastin® biosimilar candidate and its innovator: a comparative study. Pharmaceutics, 14 (8). ISSN 1999-4923

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Avastin® is a humanized recombinant monoclonal antibody used to treat cancer by targeting VEGF-A to inhibit angiogenesis. SIMAB054, an Avastin® biosimilar candidate developed in this study, showed a different charge variant profile than its innovator. Thus, it is fractionated into acidic, main, and basic isoforms and collected physically by Cation Exchange Chromatography (CEX) for a comprehensive structural and functional analysis. The innovator product, fractionated into the same species and collected by the same method, is used as a reference for comparative analysis. Ultra-Performance Liquid Chromatography (UPLC) ESI-QToF was used to analyze the modifications leading to charge heterogeneities at intact protein and peptide levels. The C-terminal lysine clipping and glycosylation profiles of the samples were monitored by intact mAb analysis. The post-translational modifications, including oxidation, deamidation, and N-terminal pyroglutamic acid formation, were determined by peptide mapping analysis in the selected signal peptides. The relative binding affinities of the fractionated charge isoforms against the antigen, VEGF-A, and the neonatal receptor, FcRn, were revealed by Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) studies. The results show that all CEX fractions from the innovator product and the SIMAB054 shared the same structural variants, albeit in different ratios. Common glycoforms and post-translational modifications were the same, but at different percentages for some samples. The dissimilarities were mostly originating from the presence of extra C-term Lysin residues, which are prone to enzymatic degradation in the body, and thus they were previously assessed as clinically irrelevant. Another critical finding was the presence of different glyco proteoforms in different charge species, such as increased galactosylation in the acidic and afucosylation in the basic species. SPR characterization of the isolated charge variants further confirmed that basic species found in the CEX analyses of the biosimilar candidate were also present in the innovator product, although at lower amounts. The charge variants’ in vitro antigen- and neonatal receptor-binding activities varied amongst the samples, which could be further investigated in vivo with a larger sample set to reveal the impact on the pharmacokinetics of drug candidates. Minor structural differences may explain antigen-binding differences in the isolated charge variants, which is a key parameter in a comparability exercise. Consequently, such a biosimilar candidate may not comply with high regulatory standards unless the binding differences observed are justified and demonstrated not to have any clinical impact.
Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: avastin; bevacizumab; biosimilars; cation exchange chromatography; charge variants; fractionation; mass spectrometry; monoclonal antibodies; surface plasmon resonance
Divisions: Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences
Sabancı University Nanotechnology Research and Application Center
Depositing User: Meral Yüce
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2023 14:43
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2023 14:43

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