A high-throughput bioanalytical platform using automated infusion for tandem mass spectrometric method optimization and its application in a metabolic stability screen



Liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) is the bioanalytical method of choice to support plate-based, in vitro early ADME (Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism and Excretion) screens such as metabolic stability (Metstab) assessment. MS/MS method optimization has historically been the bottleneck in this environment, where samples from thousands of discrete compounds are analyzed on a monthly basis, mainly due to the lack of a high-quality commercially available platform to handle the necessary MS/MS method optimization steps for sample analysis by selected reaction monitoring (SRM) on triple quadrupole mass spectrometers. To address this challenge, we recently developed a highly automated bioanalytical platform by successfully integrating QuickQuan™ 2.0, a unique high-throughput solution featuring MS/MS method optimization by automated infusion, with a customized in-house software tool in support of a Metstab screen. In this platform, a dual-column setup running parallel chromatography was also implemented to reduce the bioanalytical cycle time for LC/MS/MS sample analysis. A set of 45 validation compounds was used to demonstrate the speed, quality and reproducibility of MS/MS method optimization, sample analysis, and data processing using this automated platform. Metstab results for the validation compounds in microsomes from multiple species (human, rat, mouse) showed good consistency within each batch, and also between batches conducted on different days. We have achieved and maintained a monthly throughput of 1300 compound assays representing 500 discrete compounds per instrument per month on this platform, and it has been used to generate metabolic stability data for more than 25 000 compounds to date with an overall success rate of more than 95%. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.