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Automated Analytical Chemistry in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Martin Perkins

31st May 2017

Analytical Chemistry, Automated Sonication, Centrifugation, Dispersive Liquid-Liquid Micro Extraction, DLLME, GC, GlaxoSmithKline, GXK, LC, Liquid-Liquid Extraction, LLE, Pharmaceutical, Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry, SIFT-MS, Solid Phase Extraction, SPE,


Have you had the uncomfortable experience of interacting with an analytical instrument supplier, with little understanding of the Pharmaceutical Industry and its unique requirements?

I certainly have!!

I started my career in 1988 at Beecham Pharmaceuticals in Harlow within a group known as PASU (Physical and Analytical Servicing Unit).  The departments’ computing capability comprised two PC’s with green monochrome monitors (how times have changed).  My work involved testing on API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) for purity and impurity content where I gained experience in LC and GC.  As the company changed through mergers with other pharma companies and first became SmithKline Beecham (SB) and then GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).  I moved on to Mass Spectrometry (with GC and LC) and focused my time on enrichment techniques such as solid phase extraction and liquid-liquid extraction.  I was fortunate to work with many great analytical scientists at GSK, some of whom I still work with today through my role at Anatune.

The truth is that without years of experience of working in analytical chemistry within the pharma industry, it is almost impossible to gain the insights needed to really understand its needs and priorities for chemical analysis.  It is a complex area and there is a lot of important detail that it is easy to miss.

Here at Anatune, I have a role as its Pharmaceutical Industry Specialist and my job is to ensure a match between the pharmaceutical industries needs for automated chemical analysis with what Anatune can offer.  I am also here to be your point of contact on technical issues, so that you are able to deal with someone who understands your work environment and the pressures you are under.

Anatune has a policy to recruit former customers (a case of the lunatics running the asylum perhaps).  Joking aside, there is strong logic here.  In your dealings with Anatune, you should never suffer the problem I suffered in my former life, of having  to interact with suppliers that don’t understand the work you need to get done, because they had never done your job!

Automated sample preparation is of growing importance within pharma labs, and we have plenty of experience in automating those manual techniques that are widely used, such as liquid-liquid extraction, solid phase extraction, automated sonication and centrifugation as well as some promising new techniques such as dispersive liquid-liquid micro extraction (DLLME).

The other ‘hot item’ is SIFT-MS (Selective Ion Flow Tube-Mass Spectrometry).  This is a powerful new way of analysing small polar analytes (such as formaldehyde and sulphur compounds), in the lab and in the factory.

If you have an issue you need to tackle, please get in touch with me and we can have a chat and see what we can do to help.

You can either call me on +44 (0)1223 279210 or email enquiries@anatune.co.uk, and mark for my attention.