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Comprehensive two-dimensional liquid chromatography for the characterization of protein biopharmaceuticals at the protein level

Project description

Novel approach advances the drug development process

New protein-based pharmaceuticals and especially antibodies are emerging for the treatment of various diseases. Given the size, heterogeneity and complexity of protein molecules, their detailed characterisation and purity analysis in a drug discovery pipeline has proved technologically challenging. Scientists of the EU-funded LCxLCProt project propose to develop a chromatography-based method for the characterisation of protein biopharmaceuticals. This new method is suitable for use at the initial stage of drug development and later during manufacturing for quality control purposes. It supports good manufacturing practices and thus consumer confidence in pharmaceuticals.


Protein biopharmaceuticals, which globally represent about 20 % of the total pharmaceutical market, are becoming increasingly popular in the treatment of various diseases. Experts forecast that over 50 % of new drug approvals in the next decade will be for biologics, especially monoclonal antibodies. Very accurate structural characterization and purity analysis is required during both the development of the new drugs, and later during manufacturing for quality control purposes. Biopharmaceutical protein molecules are very large and heterogeneous, which makes their characterization very difficult. The goal of this project is to develop novel methods for the characterization of protein biopharmaceuticals at the protein level based on comprehensive two-dimensional liquid chromatography (LC×LC). Two approaches will be explored: the use of reversed phase separation mechanism in both dimensions with parallel gradients, and application of thermally responsive stationary phases for thermal modulation of LC×LC fractions. Parallel gradients provide the greatest orthogonality when the separation mechanisms in both dimensions are correlated, and allow the use of short modulation periods, which together lead to a dramatic increase in peak capacity (as demonstrated in preliminary experiments). Thermally responsive stationary phases allow trapping of the analyte bands at elevated temperatures, and their release at low temperature. This is compatible with intact protein analysis, especially when ion exchange is used in the first dimension of the LC×LC system. It is expected that the research will result in new, cutting edge methods for the analysis and characterization of protein biopharmaceuticals that will be applicable under the good manufacturing practice (GMP) conditions, improving the quality assurance/quality control and increasing the confidence in the pharmaceuticals.


Net EU contribution
€ 89 160,00
9000 Gent

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Vlaams Gewest Prov. Oost-Vlaanderen Arr. Gent
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 89 160,00