Analytical Technologies for Bio/Pharmaceutical Development

February 1, 2017
Caroline Hroncich

Caroline Hroncich was associate editor for Pharmaceutical Technology, Pharmaceutical Technology Europe, and BioPharm International from 2015 to 2017.

PTSM: Pharmaceutical Technology Sourcing and Management

PTSM: Pharmaceutical Technology Sourcing and Management-02-01-2017, Volume 12, Issue 2

Analytical products for improved bio/pharmaceutical development.

Over the past several months, manufacturers have released a variety of analytical products to improve the bio/pharmaceutical development process. Some of these technologies include high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and ultra-high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) systems, microscopes, and imaging technologies. The following is a sampling of some of these analytical products.

Particle chemistries purify and characterize oigonucleotides

Phenomenex added two new particle chemistries for the characterization and purification of synthetic oligonucleotides to the company’s Clarity BioSolutions portfolio (1). The new technologies include the Clarity Oligo-XT, for high-efficiency reversed-phase liquid chromatography analysis and purification, and Clarity Oligo-SAX, a high-resolution strong anion exchanger (SAX) for characterization.

The Clarity Oligo-XT C18 columns include core-shell media, for high-efficiency reversed-phase characterization of synthetic DNA and RNA, pH stability from 1 to 12, and increased sensitivity that improves quantitation by mass spectrometry. These core-shell particles deliver the separation power necessary to resolve closely related synthetic oligonucleotide sequences. Clarity Oligo-XT columns are available in 1.7µm, 2.6µm, and 5µm particle sizes that enable method transfer between analytical HPLC and UHPLC instrumentation and preparative purifications systems.

The Clarity Oligo-SAX columns feature a non-porous particle that retains synthetic oligonucleotides through ion exchange mechanisms. The quaternary amine functionalized, nonporous particles are engineered for performance at high pH (2.5 to 12.5) and temperatures up to 85 ˚C, and are provided in 5µm particle size for analytical characterization.

Imaging technologies for enhanced photo quality

The Olympus DP74 color fluorescence microscope camera uses advanced image processing technology and a low-noise design to deliver images for life-science and industrial applications (2). The camera captures up to 60 frames per second and minimizes jitter, to provide clear images of moving specimens. The DP74 camera provides high-resolution images of up to 1200 pixels and color imaging up to 20.7 million pixels. The CMOS image sensor, low-noise design, 3CMOS software mode, and advanced image processing allow the camera to capture fine color detail for better color resolution. The DP74 camera also offers a 16:10 aspect ratio. While using the camera under high magnification, a position navigator enables users to view what section of the overall sample slide is in view.

The Celldiscoverer 7 from ZEISS, for live cell imaging, provides a variety of cameras for live cell experiments and time-lapse recordings (3). The new ZEISS Axiocam 512 mono microscope camera with highest 12-megapixel resolution and a large field of view allows fluorescence screening applications with high throughput. The new hardware-based autofocus detects the thickness and optical properties of the sample carrier. This information is then used to adapt the ZEISS Autocorr objectives to deliver high quality images. The Celldiscoverer is controlled by ZEN imaging software that provides additional features for the automated microscope system including large-data acquisition and data processing in 2D and 3D. The software package from ZEISS calculates the maximal scanning area for any sample carrier automatically and actively protects the objective from collisions with sample vessel or other hardware components. The newly developed optics of Celldiscoverer 7, in combination with rapid GPU-based deconvolution algorithms, allow scientists to extract artifact-free information from samples.

The HeliScan MicroCT Imaging System from Thermo Fisher Scientific is suited for imaging a variety of types of samples, such as polymers, carbon, metals, manufactured parts, and life-science samples, such as bone, tissue, plants, and insects (4). HeliScan is a component of a multi-modal workflow, which begins with a MicroCT scan using HeliScan, and progresses through higher-resolution imaging with a Helios plasma-focused ion beam DualBeam, to atomic-scale analysis in a transmission electron microscope. When combined, these technologies assist in providing a better understanding of a material’s composition. HeliScan provides a nondestructive analysis and a helical scanning technology. The imaging systems autofocus and drift correction capabilities are designed to yield high-resolution, low-noise, distortion-free images. The system’s reconstruction technology uses a multi-grid approach to generate a mathematically accurate 3D model of the sampled volume.


1. Phenomex, “New Clarity Columns Refine RP and IEX Chromatographic Analysis of Synthetic Oligonucleotides,” Press Release, Nov. 30, 2016.
2. Olympus, “The Olympus DP74 Color Microscope Camera Provides Intelligent Real-Time and Fluorescence Imaging,” Press Release, Nov. 1, 2016.
3. ZEISS, “New ZEISS Celldiscoverer 7 for Live Cell Imaging,” Press Release, Nov. 2, 2016.
4. Thermo Fisher Scientific, “New Multi-Scale Imaging System Provides Insight into a Material’s Internal 3D Structure,” Press Release, Nov. 21, 2016.