Preferential interactions of weakly interacting formulation excipients govern their effect on the equilibrium and kinetics of several reactions of protein molecules in solution. Using vapor pressure osmometry, we characterized the preferential interactions of commonly used excipients trehalose, L-arginine.HCl and NaCl with three therapeutically-relevant, IgG1 monoclonal antibodies that have similar size and shape, but differ in their surface hydrophobicity and net charge. We further characterized the effect of these excipients on the reversible self-association, aggregation and viscosity behavior of these antibody molecules. We report that trehalose, L-arginine.HCl and NaCl are all excluded from the surface of the three IgG1 monoclonal antibodies, and that the exclusion behavior is linearly related to the excipient molality in the case of trehalose and NaCl, whereas a non-linear behavior is observed for L-arginine.HCl. Interestingly, we find that the magnitude of trehalose exclusion depends upon the nature of the protein surface. Such behavior is not observed in case of NaCl and L-arginine.HCl as they are excluded to the same extent from the surface of all three antibody molecules tested in this study. Analysis of data presented in this study provides further insight into the mechanisms governing excipient-mediated stabilization of mAb formulations.
Keywords: L-arginine.HCl; Trehalose; mAb stability; preferential exclusion; preferential hydration; sodium chloride; therapeutic monoclonal antibody formulation; vapor pressure osmometry.