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Global analysis of aggregation profiles of three kinds of immuno-oncology mAb drug products using flow cytometry



Zhishang Hu, Wei Mi, Chen Ye, Yun Zhao, Richard E. Cavicchi, Haiying Hang, Hongmei Li


Accurately quantifying the protein particles in both subvisible (1–100 μm) and submicron (≤1 μm) ranges remains a prominent challenge in the development and manufacturing of protein drugs. Due to the limitation of the sensitivity, resolution, or quantification level of various measurement systems, some instruments may not provide count information, while others can only count particles in a limited size range. Moreover, the reported concentrations of protein particles commonly have significant discrepancies owing to different methodological dynamic ranges and the detection efficiency of these analytical tools. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to accurately and comparably quantify protein particles within the desired size range at one time. To develop an efficient protein aggregation measurement method that can span the entire range of interest, we established, in this study, a single particle-sizing/counting method based on our highly sensitive lab-built flow cytometry (FCM) system. The performance of this method was assessed, and its capability of identifying and counting microspheres between 0.2 and 25 μm was demonstrated. It was also used to characterize and quantify both subvisible and submicron particles in three kinds of top-selling immuno-oncology antibody drugs and their lab-produced counterparts. These assessment and measurement results suggest that there may be a role for an enhanced FCM system as an efficient investigative tool for characterizing and learning the molecular aggregation behavior, stability, or safety risk of protein products.
Analytical Chemistry


Protein particles, Submicron particles, Immunogenicity, PD-1/L1, Flow cytometry


Hu, Z. , Mi, W. , Ye, C. , Zhao, Y. , Cavicchi, R. , Hang, H. and Li, H. (2023), Global analysis of aggregation profiles of three kinds of immuno-oncology mAb drug products using flow cytometry, Analytical Chemistry, [online],, (Accessed July 23, 2024)


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Created March 2, 2023, Updated March 19, 2023