Characterization of Aptamer BC 007 Substance and Product Using Circular Dichroism and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy.

Zug, Switzerland, and Berlin, Germany, 8 October 2018

Possible unwanted folding of biopharmaceuticals during manufacturing and storage has resulted in analysis schemes compared to small molecules that include bioanalytical characterization besides chemical characterization.

Whether bioanalytical characterization is required for nucleotide-based drugs, may be decided on a case-by-case basis. Nucleotide-based pharmaceuticals, if chemically synthesized, occupy an intermediate position between small-molecule drugs and biologics. Here, we tested whether a physicochemical characterization of a nucleotide-based drug substance, BC 007, was adequate, using circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy. Nuclear magnetic resonance confirmed CD data in one experimental setup. 

BC 007 forms a quadruplex structure under specific external conditions, which was characterized for its stability and structural appearance also after denaturation using CD and nuclear magnetic resonance. The amount of the free energy (ΔG0) involved in quadruplex formation of BC 007 was estimated at +8.7 kJ/mol when dissolved in water and +1.4 kJ/mol in 154 mM NaCl, indicating structural instability under these conditions. However, dissolution of the substance in 5 mM of KCl reduced the ΔG0 to −5.6 kJ/mol due to the stabilizing effect of cations. These results show that positive ΔG0 of quadruplex structure formation in water and aqueous NaCl prevents BC 007 from preforming stable 3-dimensional structures, which could potentially affect drug function.

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