A practical application of two in silico systems for identification of potentially mutagenic impurities
The International Conference on Harmonization (ICH) M7 guidance for the assessment and control of DNA reactive impurities in pharmaceutical products includes the use of in silico prediction systems as part of the hazard identification and risk assessment strategy. This is the first internationally agreed guidance document to include the use of these types of approaches. The guideline requires the use of two complementary approaches, an expert rule-based method and a statistical algorithm. In addition, the guidance states that the output from these computer-based assessments can be reviewed using expert knowledge to provide additional support or resolve conflicting predictions. This approach is designed to maximize the sensitivity for correctly identifying DNA reactive compounds while providing a framework to reduce the number of compounds that need to be synthesized, purified and subsequently tested in an Ames assay. Using a data set of 801 chemicals and pharmaceutical intermediates, we have examined the relative predictive performances of some popular commercial in silico systems that are in common use across the pharmaceutical industry.