Qualitative and semiquantitative analysis of composite mixtures of antibodies by native mass spectrometry

Anal Chem. 2012 Aug 21;84(16):7227-32. doi: 10.1021/ac301611d. Epub 2012 Aug 10.


Native mass spectrometry was evaluated for the qualitative and semiquantitative analysis of composite mixtures of antibodies representing biopharmaceutical products coexpressed from single cells. We show that by using automated peak fitting of the ion signals in the native mass spectra, we can quantify the relative abundance of each of the antibodies present in mixtures, with an average accuracy of 3%, comparable to a cation exchange chromatography based approach performed in parallel. Moreover, using native mass spectrometry we were able to identify, separate, and quantify 9 antibodies present in a complex mixture of 10 antibodies, whereas this complexity could not be unraveled by cation exchange chromatography. Native mass spectrometry presents a valuable alternative to existing analytical methods for qualitative and semiquantitative profiling of biopharmaceutical products. It provides both the identity of each species in a mixture by mass determination and the relative abundance through comparison of relative ion signal intensities. Native mass spectrometry is a particularly effective tool for characterization of heterogeneous biopharmaceutical products such as bispecific antibodies and antibody mixtures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / analysis*
  • Antibodies / isolation & purification
  • CHO Cells
  • Chromatography, Ion Exchange
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin G / isolation & purification
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization / methods*


  • Antibodies
  • Immunoglobulin G