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Potential impurities in drug substances: Compound-specific toxicology limits for 20 synthetic reagents and by-products, and a class-specific toxicology limit for alkyl bromides

Bercu JP; Galloway S; Parris P; Teasdale A; Masuda-Herrera M; Dobo KL; Heard DJ; Kenyon MO; Nicolette JJ; Vock E; Ku WW; Harvey JS; White A; Glowienke S; Martin EA; Custer LL; Jolly R; Thybaud V;

This paper provides compound-specific toxicology limits for 20 widely used synthetic reagents and common by-products that are potential impurities in drug substances. In addition, a 15 µg/day class-specific limit was developed for monofunctional alkyl bromides, aligning this with the class-specific limit previously defined for monofunctional alkyl chlorides.

Both the compound- and class-specific toxicology limits assume a lifetime chronic exposure for the general population (including sensitive subpopulations) by all routes of exposure for pharmaceuticals. Inhalation-specific toxicology limits were also derived for acrolein, formaldehyde, and methyl bromide because of their localized toxicity via that route. Mode of action was an important consideration for a compound-specific toxicology limit.

Acceptable intake (AI) calculations for certain mutagenic carcinogens assumed a linear dose-response for tumor induction, and permissible daily exposure (PDE) determination assumed a non-linear dose-response. Several compounds evaluated have been previously incorrectly assumed to be mutagenic, or to be mutagenic carcinogens, but the evidence reported here for such compounds indicates a lack of mutagenicity, and a non-mutagenic mode of action for tumor induction. For non-mutagens with insufficient data to develop a toxicology limit, the ICH Q3A qualification thresholds are recommended. The compound- and class-specific toxicology limits described here may be adjusted for an individual drug substance based on treatment duration, dosing schedule, severity of the disease and therapeutic indication.


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