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J Pharm Sci. 2008 Aug;97(8):2924-35.

Polysorbates 20 and 80 used in the formulation of protein biotherapeutics: structure and degradation pathways.

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Department of Pharmaceutics, Amgen Inc., One Amgen Center Dr., Thousand Oaks, California 91320, USA.


Polysorbates 20 and 80 (Tween 20 and Tween 80) are used in the formulation of biotherapeutic products for both preventing surface adsorption and as stabilizers against protein aggregation. The polysorbates are amphipathic, nonionic surfactants composed of fatty acid esters of polyoxyethylene sorbitan being polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate for polysorbate 20 and polyoxyethylene sorbitan monooleate for polysorbate 80. The polysorbates used in the formulation of biopharmaceuticals are mixtures of different fatty acid esters with the monolaurate fraction of polysorbate 20 making up only 40-60% of the mixture and the monooleate fraction of polysorbate 80 making up >58% of the mixture. The polysorbates undergo autooxidation, cleavage at the ethylene oxide subunits and hydrolysis of the fatty acid ester bond. Autooxidation results in hydroperoxide formation, side-chain cleavage and eventually formation of short chain acids such as formic acid all of which could influence the stability of a biopharmaceutical product. Oxidation of the fatty acid moiety while well described in the literature has not been specifically investigated for polysorbate. This review focuses on the chemical structure of the polysorbates, factors influencing micelle formation and factors and excipients influencing stability and degradation of the polyoxyethylene and fatty acid ester linkages.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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