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J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2009 Feb 20;49(2):311-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jpba.2008.11.039. Epub 2008 Dec 6.

Application of multi-factorial design of experiments to successfully optimize immunoassays for robust measurements of therapeutic proteins.

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Pharmacokinetics and Drug Metabolism, Amgen Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, USA.


Developing a process that generates robust immunoassays that can be used to support studies with tight timelines is a common challenge for bioanalytical laboratories. Design of experiments (DOEs) is a tool that has been used by many industries for the purpose of optimizing processes. The approach is capable of identifying critical factors and their interactions with a minimal number of experiments. The challenge for implementing this tool in the bioanalytical laboratory is to develop a user-friendly approach that scientists can understand and apply. We have successfully addressed these challenges by eliminating the screening design, introducing automation, and applying a simple mathematical approach for the output parameter. A modified central composite design (CCD) was applied to three ligand binding assays. The intra-plate factors selected were coating, detection antibody concentration, and streptavidin-HRP concentrations. The inter-plate factors included incubation times for each step. The objective was to maximize the logS/B (S/B) of the low standard to the blank. The maximum desirable conditions were determined using JMP 7.0. To verify the validity of the predictions, the logS/B prediction was compared against the observed logS/B during pre-study validation experiments. The three assays were optimized using the multi-factorial DOE. The total error for all three methods was less than 20% which indicated method robustness. DOE identified interactions in one of the methods. The model predictions for logS/B were within 25% of the observed pre-study validation values for all methods tested. The comparison between the CCD and hybrid screening design yielded comparable parameter estimates. The user-friendly design enables effective application of multi-factorial DOE to optimize ligand binding assays for therapeutic proteins. The approach allows for identification of interactions between factors, consistency in optimal parameter determination, and reduced method development time.

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