Metabolite Identification (MetID)

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Profiling and identifying metabolites are key steps in supporting drug discovery and development of novel compounds. Metabolite identification (MetID) studies help you to understand the clearance mechanisms, parse the presence of potential active or reactive metabolites and observe the disproportionate or unique metabolites in your compound to better understand your molecule's biotransformation capabilities. 

Nonclinical Metabolite Identification

  • Soft spot identification
  • In vitro cross species comparison
  • Preclinical AME/ADME

Clinical Metabolite Identification

  • Human AME
  • Clinical metabolite identification
  • In vivo cross species comparison

Environmental Metabolite Identification Studies

  • Agro chemical metabolite identification

Want to speed up your MetID work? Choose the fast MetID lead optimization solution

Understanding the biotransformation of your compounds during lead optimization enhances your lead candidate’s properties and enables you to make informed decisions early, preventing costly development delays.

  • Gain early comparative, cross-species information to support MIST, ICH M3 and EMA/FDA DDI guidelines, including correct selection of preclinical tox species
  • Make targeted modifications to alter clearance properties
  • Mitigate risk associated potential drug-drug interactions
  • Reduce reactive metabolites
  • Identify potentially unique or disproportionate human metabolites early

Complementary Techniques for MetID

  • Matrix Matching: Reduce matrix affects by matching matrices across species to facilitate comparison of metabolite responses between species.
  • Deuterium Exchange: Characterize metabolites by using deuterated mobile phase to highlight exchangeable protons such as –NH, -OH and –COOH. Supports structural elucidation and differentiation of isomeric metabolites.
  • Titanium Trichloride: Confirm n-oxides by using titanium(III) chloride to reduce to amines.
  • Metabolite isolation: Isolate specific metabolites to facilitate identification.
  • Enzyme Deconjugation Incubate enzymes, typically with β-glucuronidase (ex Helix pomatia), to deconjugate metabolites releasing the aglycone to provide additional information on the proposed metabolite. More specific enzymes can be used to review specific conjugates such as sulphate or glucuronide.
  • TLC: Gain a secondary method for confirmation using an alternative chromatography method. Can be run in 1 or 2 dimensions, manually or through an automated plate spotter.

Common Biologics Studies

  • Oligonucleotides - Possible types of oligonucleotides: Single stranded, double stranded, siRNA, non-natural modifications, targeting structures, modified phosphate sugars
  • Peptide - Synthetic or modified peptides (usually 10-15 amino acids). Radiolabel usually required.
  • Antibody drug conjugates - Experience with in vitro, preclinical ADME. Either metabolism to the warhead, or the warhead and linker are usually investigated.

Met ID Studies & Regulatory Guidance

Metabolite identification studies occur throughout the drug or device development continuum. Data generated from these studies supports the following regulatory guidelines for DMPK studies: 

  • ICHM3 guidelines on Non-Clinical Safety Studies for the Conduct of Human Clinical Trials
  • Marketing Authorization for Pharmaceuticals (2008)
  • FDA Safety Testing of Drug Metabolites Guidance for Industry (2016)
  • EMA DDI 

MetID Technology


  • High resolution mass spectrometry
  • QToF and Orbitrap
  • Ion mobility separation
  • Fraction collection
  • On- and offline radio detection
  • Thin Layer Chromatography Metabolite isolation
  • NMR (through partner)

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