Identification, isolation, structural characterization, in silico toxicity prediction and in vitro cytotoxicity assay of simeprevir acidic and oxidative degradation products†
Simeprevir is a new direct-acting antiviral drug used for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C. In this work, a simple, fast and economical chromatographic method was developed for the determination of simeprevir in the presence of its acidic and oxidative degradation products. The stress studies performed herein showed that simeprevir degraded under acidic and oxidative conditions but was stable under thermal and alkaline conditions. Chromatographic separation was achieved on a reversed-phase Eclipse XDB C18 column (4.6 × 150 mm, 5 μm). The mobile phase consisted of methanol-0.05 M ammonium acetate (pH 4) (90 : 10, v/v) and was used at a flow rate of 1 mL min−1. The column effluent was monitored at 237 nm. The calibration curve was linear over the concentration range of 0.1–20 μg mL−1. The relative standard deviations for the intra-day and inter-day precision were less than 2%, and good percentage recoveries that met the acceptance criteria of the International Conference on Harmonization (ICH) guidelines were obtained. The robustness was assessed using the Plackett–Burman design. The simeprevir degradation products were isolated by flash chromatography and confirmed by 1H NMR and LC-MS/MS techniques. The fully validated chromatographic method can be applied as a stability-indicating method for simeprevir and for routine analysis during quality control. Additionally, in silico toxicity prediction of the degradation products demonstrated a hepatotoxicity alert for DP 1, DP 2, DP 4 and DP 5 and a carcinogenicity alert for DP 3. In view of safety aspects, an in vitro cytotoxicity assay was carried out for simeprevir degradation products. They were found to be non-toxic in vitro at the tested concentrations.