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Biologic products encounter various types of interfacial stress during development, manufacturing, and clinical administration. When proteins come in contact with vapor–liquid, solid–liquid, and liquid–liquid surfaces, these interfaces can significantly impact the protein drug product quality attributes, including formation of visible particles, subvisible particles, or soluble aggregates, or changes in target protein concentration due to adsorption of the molecule to various interfaces. Protein aggregation at interfaces is often accompanied by changes in conformation, as proteins modify their higher order structure in response to interfacial stresses such as hydrophobicity, charge, and mechanical stress. Formation of aggregates may elicit immunogenicity concerns; therefore, it is important to minimize opportunities for aggregation by performing a systematic evaluation of interfacial stress throughout the product development cycle and to develop appropriate mitigation strategies. The purpose of this white paper is to provide an understanding of protein interfacial stability, explore methods to understand interfacial behavior of proteins, then describe current industry approaches to address interfacial stability concerns. Specifically, we will discuss interfacial stresses to which proteins are exposed from drug substance manufacture through clinical administration, as well as the analytical techniques used to evaluate the resulting impact on the stability of the protein. A high-level mechanistic understanding of the relationship between interfacial stress and aggregation will be introduced, as well as some novel techniques for measuring and better understanding the interfacial behavior of proteins. Finally, some best practices in the evaluation and minimization of interfacial stress will be recommended.


This work was originally published in the AAPS Journal, available at DOI: 10.1208/s12248-019-0312-3.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (



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