Oil-Immersion Flow Imaging Microscopy for Quantification and Morphological Characterization of Submicron Particles in Biopharmaceuticals
Flow imaging microscopy (FIM) is widely used to analyze subvisible particles starting from 2 μm in biopharmaceuticals. Recently, an oil-immersion FIM system emerged, the FlowCam Nano, designed to enable the characterization of particle sizes even below 2 μm. The aim of our study was to evaluate oil-immersion FIM (by using FlowCam Nano) in comparison to microﬂuidic resistive pulse sensing and resonant mass measurement for sizing and counting of particles in the submicron range. Polystyrene beads, a heat-stressed monoclonal antibody formulation and a silicone oil emulsion, were measured to assess the performance on biopharmaceutical relevant samples, as well as the ability to distinguish particle types based on instrument-derived morphological parameters. The determination of particle sizes and morphologies suffers from inaccuracies due to a low image contrast of small particles and light-scattering effects. The ill-deﬁned measured volume impairs an accurate concentration determination. Nevertheless, FlowCam Nano in its current design complements the limited toolbox of submicron particle analysis of biopharmaceuticals by providing particle images in a size range that was previously not accessible with commercial FIM instruments.
AAPS Journal 2021 JAN