Evaluation of erythropoietin biosimilars Epotin™, Hemax® and Jimaixin™ by electrophoretic methods used for doping control analysis and specific N-glycan analysis revealed structural differences from original epoetin alfa drug Eprex® / Perrine Capdeville, Laurent Martin, Sophie Cholet, Annelaure Damont, Michel Audran, Magnus Ericsson, François Fenaille, Alexandre Marchand. - (Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis 194 (2021) 113750 (5 February))
- PMID: 33234415
- DOI: 10.1016/j.jpba.2020.113750
Recombinant human erythropoietin (rEPO) biosimilars are copies of epoetin drugs developed after the first patents ended. However differences in the process of production can result in small structural differences when compared to the reference product. Differences in N-glycosylation profiles are of particular importance for rEPOs, because they can drastically impact the half-life in circulation and activity. Changes of structure can also impact electrophoretic profiles that are used to reveal the presence of a rEPO in a doping control sample. In this study three not well characterized biosimilars were evaluated (Jimaixin™ authorized in China, and Hemax® and Epotin™ authorized in Algeria). As these products could be used for doping, first their EPO profiles were determined using the antidoping methods (electrophoretic separation by the charge (isolectric focusing, IEF-PAGE) or the molecular weight (SDS-PAGE) and specific EPO immunodetection). Compared to the original epoetin alfa Eprex®, it revealed more basic isoforms for Epotin™ and Jimaixin™ after IEF-PAGE and a slightly lower molecular weight after SDS-PAGE in particular for Hemax®. To better understand the reason for these differences, EPO specific N-glycans were evaluated using two complementary approaches: MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry (MS) and hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC) with fluorescence detection. All three biosimilars presented a significant decrease in the major glycan forms of Eprex® along with an increase in less complex forms. Jimaixin™ and Epotin™ presented also a lower amount of fully sialylated forms. HILIC method also showed that O-acetylation level of sialic acid residues might vary from one rEPO to the other.