Comparative Analysis of Glycoform Profiles Between Biosimilar and Originator Monoclonal Antibodies by Liquid Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry

Atik A. E.

Journal of the Turkish Chemical Society, Section A: Chemistry, vol.11, no.1, pp.365-376, 2024 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


Glycosylation is considered as a critical quality attribute for monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and needs routine monitoring during production. This study aims to compare the glycoform profiles of biosimilar and four originator mAbs using ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) coupled to electrospray ionization-quadrupole time of flight-mass spectrometry (ESI/Q-TOF MS). The resultant mass spectrum showed that seven different glycoform pairs, including G0F–GN/G0, G0F–GN/G0F, G0F/G0F, G0F/G1F, G1F/G1F, G1F/G2F, and G2F/G2F were identified via intact mass analysis for all tested mAb samples. The correct identification of each glycoform pair was achieved by comparing the observed mass with its theoretical mass using high-resolution mass spectrometry data (with mass accuracies of less than 100 ppm). The most abundant paired glycoforms detected at the intact protein level are G0F/G0F and G0F/G1F, with relative abundance ranges of 38.45 – 43.43% and 19.32 – 22.20%, respectively. The obtained data demonstrated that biosimilar and originators have the same types of glycoform pairs, and the relative abundances of each pair were comparable among biosimilar and four originator mAb samples. Additionally, the reduced mass analysis revealed that five different glycans (G0F–GN, G0, G0F, G1F, and G2F) were attached to the heavy chain of the mAb, and the relative abundance of G0F ranged from 75.21 to 77.90%. The detected mass accuracies for reduced mass analysis were below 25 ppm. The results of the intact and reduced mass analyses showed that the biosimilar is similar to its originator in terms of glycoform percentages and molecular masses.