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2679 Characterization of Protein Unable to Bind Von Willebrand Factor in Recombinant Factor VIII Products: Can We Reduce Their Immunogenicity?

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 321. Blood Coagulation and Fibrinolytic Factors: Poster III
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Hemophilia, Diseases, Bleeding and Clotting, Hemostasis, Biological Processes, Protein Disorders, Clinically relevant, Quality Improvement , pathways, proteomics
Monday, December 7, 2020, 7:00 AM-3:30 PM

Haarin Chun, PhD*, John R Pettersson, PhD*, Svetlana A Shestopal, PhD*, Wells W Wu, PhD*, Ekaterina S Marakasova*, Philip Olivares, PhD*, Stepan S Surov, PhD*, Mikhail V Ovanesov, PhD*, Rong-Fong Shen, PhD*, Timothy K Lee, PhD* and Andrey G Sarafanov, PhD*

Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD


Therapeutic products with blood coagulation factor VIII (FVIII) have a wide range of protein contents per activity unit (or IU/mg, specific activity), available from previous studies (Lin et al, 2004; Butenas et al, 2009) and the prescribing information. The wide range of the specific activities seems to be more pronounced in recombinant FVIII products (rFVIII) compared to plasma-derived FVIII, implying presence of protein with altered structure and biochemical properties. In particular, rFVIII products were reported to contain a protein fraction (FVIII*), unable to bind von Willebrand factor (VWF) without functional activity (Lin et al, 2004; Ofosu et al 2012). Furthermore, FVIII* may represent a risk factor for development of FVIII inhibitors in Hemophilia A patients, as the binding to VWF was shown to reduce FVIII immunogenicity in a tissue culture and mice model systems (Gangadharan et al, 2017; Muczynski et al, 2018). Due to these reasons, FVIII* can be defined as an impurity, which needs to be understood and controlled in rFVIII products.

Study objective

To develop a methodology to isolate FVIII* from rFVIII samples and to characterize this fraction in various rFVIII products.

Experimental design

Using immobilized VWF affinity chromatography (IVAC) for analysis of FVIII samples, protein fractions collected from (i) the column flow-through (FVIIIFT, corresponding to FVIII*) and (ii) the column-bound and eluted fraction (FVIIIEL) were characterized using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) gels followed by silver-staining and immunoblotting, FVIII activity test, surface plasmon resonance, mass spectrometry, and for plasma clearance in mice.


A robust IVAC methodology was developed. Using this method, we isolated the FVIIIFT and FVIIIEL from all ten third-generation rFVIII products marketed in the USA by study time. These products represent all current pharmaceutical variants of rFVIII including full-size FVIII, B-domain deleted (truncated) FVIII, Fc-fused FVIII, single-chained FVIII, and PEGylated protein, including those with the extended plasma half-life. FVIIIFT was found in all rFVIII products at levels up to 22% of total protein. Compared to FVIIIEL, FVIIIFT had similar pattern of polypeptide bands by PAGE, but lower functional activity, significantly reduced sulfation at Tyr1680 important for VWF binding, moderately decreased interaction with recombinant cluster II of a low-density lipoprotein receptor related protein 1 (a major clearance receptor of FVIII), and approximately 3-times faster clearance in mice (Figure 1).


Our results show that the FVIII* structure is generally similar to that of the major fraction of rFVIII, while it differs by microheterogeneity in post-translational modifications and possibly local misfolding. The data suggest that upon administration of a rFVIII product in patients, its FVIII* fraction is rapidly removed from the circulation, resulting in a decrease of the effective dosage. Our findings demonstrate a potential of IVAC to control FVIII* fraction in rFVIII products, including its removal from the products during their manufacture. These applications may lead to achieving better quality and efficacy of rFVIII products including reduction of their immunogenicity for improving the care of Hemophilia A.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

*signifies non-member of ASH