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The Need for Speed

The Need for Speed content piece image

Accelerating the drug discovery process is a key priority for pharmaceutical businesses around the world and the initial screening of large compound libraries continues to be a critical first step. New technologies that offer a competitive edge are greatly sought after – whether that comes in the form of more information, faster screening or deeper understanding. 

Mass spectrometry has significant potential to add value to drug discovery research, and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF) has emerged as a powerful technique that ticks all the boxes for a new high-throughput screening methodology to increase productivity while reducing costs and waste within the pharmaceutical setting. 

The MALDI PharmaPulse (Bruker Daltonics) can achieve speeds of less than 1 second per sample, which equates to an ability to analyze more than 121,000 samples per day. MALDI-TOF is considerably faster than early MS techniques, such as multiplexed liquid chromatography (LC)-MS technology and Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) methods, which have cycle times of up to 30 seconds and around 10 seconds per sample respectively and are considered too slow for routine HTS.