Scientific article
Open access

State-of-the-Art Native Mass Spectrometry and Ion Mobility Methods to Monitor Homogeneous Site-Specific Antibody-Drug Conjugates Synthesis

Published inPharmaceuticals, vol. 14, no. 6
Publication date2021

Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) are biotherapeutics consisting of a tumor-targeting monoclonal antibody (mAb) linked covalently to a cytotoxic drug. Early generation ADCs were predominantly obtained through non-selective conjugation methods based on lysine and cysteine residues, resulting in heterogeneous populations with varying drug-to-antibody ratios (DAR). Site-specific conjugation is one of the current challenges in ADC development, allowing for controlled conjugation and production of homogeneous ADCs. We report here the characterization of a site-specific DAR2 ADC generated with the GlyCLICK three-step process, which involves glycan-based enzymatic remodeling and click chemistry, using state-of-the-art native mass spectrometry (nMS) methods. The conjugation process was monitored with size exclusion chromatography coupled to nMS (SEC-nMS), which offered a straightforward identification and quantification of all reaction products, providing a direct snapshot of the ADC homogeneity. Benefits of SEC-nMS were further demonstrated for forced degradation studies, for which fragments generated upon thermal stress were clearly identified, with no deconjugation of the drug linker observed for the T-GlyGLICK-DM1 ADC. Lastly, innovative ion mobility-based collision-induced unfolding (CIU) approaches were used to assess the gas-phase behavior of compounds along the conjugation process, highlighting an increased resistance of the mAb against gas-phase unfolding upon drug conjugation. Altogether, these state-of-the-art nMS methods represent innovative approaches to investigate drug loading and distribution of last generation ADCs, their evolution during the bioconjugation process and their impact on gas-phase stabilities. We envision nMS and CIU methods to improve the conformational characterization of next generation-empowered mAb-derived products such as engineered nanobodies, bispecific ADCs or immunocytokines.

  • native mass spectrometry
  • size-exclusion chromatography (SEC)
  • ion mobility-mass spectrometry (IM-MS)
  • collision-induced unfolding (CIU)
  • antibody-drug conjugate (ADC)
  • site-specific conjugation
Citation (ISO format)
DESLIGNIÈRE, Evolène et al. State-of-the-Art Native Mass Spectrometry and Ion Mobility Methods to Monitor Homogeneous Site-Specific Antibody-Drug Conjugates Synthesis. In: Pharmaceuticals, 2021, vol. 14, n° 6. doi: 10.3390/ph14060498
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1424-8247

Technical informations

Creation06/30/2021 5:23:00 PM
First validation06/30/2021 5:23:00 PM
Update time03/16/2023 12:51:55 AM
Status update03/16/2023 12:51:54 AM
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