Metabolism of biologics: biotherapeutic proteins

Bioanalysis. 2012 Jan;4(2):189-95. doi: 10.4155/bio.11.304.


Recombinant therapeutic protein drugs have now been in clinical use for nearly three decades and have advanced considerably in complexity over this time period. Regulatory approvals of some early pioneering protein drugs did not require characterization of metabolism, but more recently regulatory expectations and guidance have appropriately evolved. Sponsors may now be expected to investigate metabolism of newer biologics as the structural complexity of proteins has increased markedly, particularly with the introduction of conjugated and modified proteins. This review discusses the value and need for metabolite characterization of some therapeutic proteins by presenting select examples. Regulatory expectations will undoubtedly evolve further with the development of other novel macromolecular biologic therapeutics based on modified nucleic acids, novel conjugated lipids and polysaccharides.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Products / metabolism*
  • Drug Design
  • Humans
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism*


  • Biological Products
  • Recombinant Proteins