A specific chiral HPLC method for lifitegrast and determination of enantiomeric impurity in drug substance, ophthalmic product and stressed samples

Uğur M., Bellur Atici E., ÖZKAN S. A.

Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, vol.242, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 242
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jpba.2024.116039
  • Journal Name: Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Analytical Abstracts, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, Chimica, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database
  • Keywords: Chiral method, Enantiomeric impurity, HPLC, Lifitegrast, Stress testing and stability, Validation
  • Ankara University Affiliated: Yes


Lifitegrast is a lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1) antagonist used to treat the indications and symptoms associated with dry eye disease (DED), one of the most common ocular surface diseases. Lifitegrast has a chiral center, and the S-enantiomer (S-Lif) is responsible for the therapeutic effects, while the R-enantiomer (R-Lif) lacks efficacy in the treatment of DED. Lifitegrast ophthalmic solution containing 5% lifitegrast was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July 2016 for the treatment of DED in patients 17 years of age and older. The objective of this study was to develop a chiral HPLC method for the determination of the enantiomeric impurity of lifitegrast in the drug substance and in the ophthalmic product. In addition, we aimed to investigate the effect of stress and stability conditions on the enantiomeric purity of lifitegrast in both drug substance and ophthalmic solution. During the method development studies, four known lifitegrast impurities (Lif. Imp. A-D) and stressed lifitegrast samples were injected to ensure the specificity of the developed method. The enantiomers of lifitegrast are well separated with a resolution of higher than 4.0. They are also well separated from the peaks of the diluent, impurities, and the placebo used to prepare the ophthalmic solution without interference in 20 min. Chiral separation was achieved using a Chiralpak AD-H column (250 × 4.6 mm, 5.0 μm) at 40 °C with a mobile phase consisting of a mixture of n-hexane, 2-propanol, and formic acid (500:500:2, v/v/v) at a flow rate of 1.0 mL/min and a detection wavelength of 260 nm. Methanol was used as the diluent, and the drug substance solution was found to be stable for 48 h at 15 °C. The optimized chiral HPLC method for lifitegrast was validated according to ICH Q2, and the calibration curves showed excellent linearity for R-Lif (0.0369 – 1.816 µg/mL). This is the first stability-indicating, specific / selective, sensitive, linear, precise, accurate, and robust chiral HPLC method for the determination of R-Lif in S-Lif. The amount of enantiomeric impurity R-Lif in S-Lif increased under all stress and photostability test conditions without exceeding the acceptable impurity limit, with the most significant increase observed at elevated temperatures (105 °C) for both the drug substance in powder form and the ophthalmic drug solution.