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Industry Insight

HPLC 2015 - A Busy Event for Thermo

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Industry Insight

HPLC 2015 - A Busy Event for Thermo

The annual Symposium on HPLC took place recently in Geneva, Switzerland. The event is an international forum for the scientific discussion of the methods of high performance liquid chromatography in its various forms, along with the complementary separation techniques. Alongside the scientific program the symposium hosts a large and comprehensive exhibition where companies active in the field present their latest developments in instrumentation, software and applications related to sample preparation, separation and detection illustrated in technical seminars.

Thermo Fisher Scientific was one of the companies to attend the event, showcasing new products and taking part in a number of seminars and tutorials. To discuss their participation in the event and the products they unveiled we spoke to Fraser McLeod, Vice President and General Manager of HPLC, Thermo Fisher Scientific. 

JR: Could you give us an overview of the products Thermo Fisher Scientific have introduced at HPLC 2015?

FM: At HPLC this year, we launched three new products: the Thermo Scientific Vanquish Flex UHPLC system, the Thermo Scientific ProSwift C4 RP-5H column and the Thermo Scientific MAbPac RP column.

As the latest addition to the Vanquish product family, the Vanquish Flex delivers exceptional performance and reliable separations while offering users an additional level of flexibility. This makes it usable for labs developing methods ranging from high throughput analyses to pharmaceutical quality control applications. Since data integrity is essential to the biopharmaceutical workflow, confidence and speed in results, sensitivity and throughput are essential. The Vanquish Flex system has been designed for high speed, resolution and sensitivity, with modular functionality facilitating the mix and match of different parts, to meet individual application needs. To complement the new Vanquish Flex, we also recently launched the Thermo Scientific SMART Digest, a protein digestion tool that provides fast, sensitive analysis.

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The ProSwift C4 RP-5H column for liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC/MS) analysis uses a unique capillary design. This allows labs with limited samples and complex mixtures to benefit from a fast, high-resolution solution for the identification of protein samples. Built using a low-pressure C4 monolith with a porous structure, the column facilitates fast, low-flow separations without sacrificing resolution. The ProSwift C4 RP-5H column provides optimal sensitivity and low carryover for more accurate separations, facilitating high sensitivity proteomics and biotech applications.

The MAbPac RP column is designed for reversed-phased chromatography separation of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and their fragments. This makes it ideal for analytical chemists requiring high-resolution, accurate mass determination of mAb variants, antibody drug conjugates and proteins. With mAbs already representing more than a third of all biopharmaceuticals in development, reliable and rapid characterization of these compounds is becoming increasingly vital. The MAbPac RP column has been optimized for mAb LC/MS and LC/UV separations: its thermal and pH stability yields consistent separations, while the polymeric resin has a pore size that is optimal for mAbs.

JR: What are you seeing as some of the key challenges being discussed at HPLC 2015 and how will Thermo help researchers address these?

FM: One of the biggest challenges widely discussed at HPLC this year was the demand for systems that provide accurate characterisation of biopharmaceuticals and proteins. This field is one of the fastest developing areas of healthcare, growing annually at a rate of around 12 percent. Within the biotherapeutics field, the monoclonal antibodies market alone is worth $72 billion per year, and as such, it’s a key driver for developing new analytical tools. Our Vanquish Flex UHPLC system targets the needs of this emerging field. Built on requests for extended column lifetime, system robustness and low maintenance efforts, the Vanquish Flex system incorporates tertiary and quaternary gradients to allow you to get the best selectivity out of multi-mode separation columns. This allows you to gain great application flexibility and easy method development and transfer. Additional features that help users to accurately characterise biopharmaceuticals and proteins include: 

• Intelligent sample pre-compression that not only protects the LC column, but also improves retention time precision for high assay stability and confidence in results

• Automated sample rack recognition in the sampling compartments by barcode reading reduces operational errors and enhances data reliability

• Enhanced detection capabilities with various optical and Charged Aerosol Detection principles ensure all peaks are seen.

The Vanquish Flex system has been designed for use with our SMART Digest kit for accurate and easy-to-use protein digestion. Furthermore, our columns incorporate superior chemistries to provide comprehensive therapeutic protein characterization and analyses. We’ve also developed a unique Thermo Scientific AppsLab web portal where users can find detailed information about analytical applications, including ready-to-use eWorkflows to ensure they get the best out of our products.

Another key customer challenge discussed throughout the show was how to accurately analyse complex samples. One way to deal with that which sees some interest these days is the use of two-dimensional LC separations; these are promoted by some LC systems, but the technical effort here frequently does not pay off the achievable gain in peak capacity. We are using the robust and reliable 1D-LC approach to optimise separation performance, pushing the boundaries of UHPLC. The Vanquish systems offer an industry-leading flow performance and pressure range, enabling users to run LC on extra-long columns and column chains for outstanding theoretical peak capacity in 1D-LC. By incorporating unique technologies such as Adaptive Thermal Effect Compensation (ATEC) for ultra-precise flow delivery and intelligent sample pre-compression for maximum retention time precision and enhanced column lifetime, our Vanquish and Vanquish Flex systems are designed to provide accurate separations and long-term robustness.

The last prominent theme explored this year was method transfer and column thermostatting. Our Vanquish and Vanquish Flex systems provide users with a choice between gradient generation concepts (quaternary or binary), together with the most complete and versatile mixer portfolio. Our systems support method transfer processes by allowing the recreation (rather than emulation) of essential parameters, for example by seamless gradient delay volume adjustment through adaptable autosampler fluidics volume – to reflect original delay volumes. Finally, the systems offer unique thermostatting concepts by providing the choice between still and forced air modes, along with independent active mobile phase pre-heating. Our Vanquish UHPLC systems allow customers to benefit from efficiency via still air thermostatting, as well as mimicking virtually any other column compartment behaviour by forced air modes for method transfer.

JR: Thermo Fisher Scientific gave a number of seminars and tutorials at the conference this year. How important is it for Thermo to be involved at this level?

FM: We see seminars and tutorials as an integral component to our customer service ethos. The relationship between a manufacturer and customer should never end at the point of sale and one of the ways in which we maintain relationships is through activities such as these, where we can share our expertise in terms of the product, its use, protocols, best practices etc., to really ensure that the scientific community is getting the most value from us as possible. All of our products are designed and built with the user in mind, however each user has slightly different application requirements, experience and levels of expertise. Sharing our knowledge with the end user can help them to fine-tune their existing methods to increase accuracy for example.

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Fraser McLeod was speaking to Jack Rudd, Editor for Technology Networks.

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