June 27, 2023
Multispecific antibodies have gained significant importance in a broad indication space due to their ability to engage multiple epitopes simultaneously and to thereby overcome therapeutic barriers. With growing therapeutic potential, however, the molecular complexity increases, thus intensifying the demand for innovative protein engineering and analytical strategies. A major challenge for multispecific antibodies is the correct assembly of light and heavy chains. Engineering strategies exist to stabilize the correct pairing, but typically individual engineering campaigns are required to arrive at the anticipated format. Mass spectrometry has proven to be a versatile tool to identify mispaired species. However, due to manual data analysis procedures, mass spectrometry is limited to lower throughputs. To keep pace with increasing sample numbers, we developed a high-throughput-capable mispairing workflow based on intact mass spectrometry with automated data analysis, peak detection, and relative quantification using Genedata Expressionist. This workflow is capable of detecting mispaired species of ∼1000 multispecific antibodies in three weeks and thus is applicable to complex screening campaigns. As a proof of concept, the assay was applied to engineering a trispecific antibody. Strikingly, the new setup has not only proved successful in mispairing analysis but has also revealed its potential to automatically annotate other product-related impurities. Furthermore, we could confirm the assay to be format-agnostic, as shown by analyzing several different multispecific formats in one run. With these comprehensive capabilities, the new automated intact mass workflow can be applied as a universal tool to detect and annotate peaks in a format-agnostic approach and in high-throughput, thus enabling complex discovery campaigns.