Pittcon 2008 Unveils Innovations in Analytics

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ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

The 59th Pittsburgh Conference gathered more than 1000 exhibitors on its showroom floor this week.

New Orleans, LA (Mar. 3)-The 59th Pittsburgh Conference gathered more than 1000 exhibitors on its showroom floor this week. Among them, several firms announced their new and enhanced chromatography and spectroscopy systems for quality-control laboratories and production-floor analysis.

Waters Corporation launched its quantitative, real-time “Patrol” ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) process analyzer, designed for process analytical technology (PAT)-based applications and in-process analysis. Liquid chromatography is widely used in pharmaceutical analytical laboratories owing to its selectivity, sensitivity, and dynamic range. However, because of “long” analysis times, it has previously been unable to be used in any real-time or near real-time sampling in a production-floor setting. The company reports the “Patrol” system incorporates the sufficient resolution, efficient automation, and ability to complete complex data analysis in real-time during manufacture. It is designed to provided automated purity and yield results, automated sign-off, and real-time release. According to the company, Waters is currently collaborating with several global pharmaceutical companies to quantify Patrol UPLC’s impact on the manufacturing process.

Thermo Fisher Scientific announced a new product line-up at the conference, comprising instruments, equipment, and software. The company has expanded its mass spectrometry and chromatography systems to include electron-transfer dissociation (ETD) and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) capabilities to its “LTW Orbitrap” hybrid series of mass spectrometers. Thermo Fisher reports that the ETD instrument is the only unit with both high-resolution and accurate mass for “definitive protein characterization,” and the MALDI system “accelerates the analysis of whole tissue, biological, and polymer samples” with high resolution. The company also unveiled its MALDI “LTQ XL” mass spectrometer with “ImageQuest” software for analyzing tissue, biological, and polymer samples

Agilent Technologies announced five enhancements to its gas chromatograph (GC) and GC/mass spectrometer (GC-MS) platforms. Among these is its “7890A GC” and “5975” GC-MS systems, which are the “first GC x GC configuration that doesn’t use cryogen cooling,” the company reports. According to Agilent, this elimination “removes a great deal of cost and complexity, making the high-peak capacity and resolving powers of this method accessible to a much wider range of labs.” The GC-MS system incorporates a “triple-axis detector,” for strong operating signal, and the GC system includes a Blos bead nitrogen-phosphorus detector. Agilent also featured its new version of its triple quadrupole mass spectrometer. The “6410B” reportedly provides faster polarity switching scans to allow complex samples showing strong fragmentation in negative polarity to be analyzed in one run.


NLISIS Chromatography launched its “Meltfit One” coupling capillary columns for making stable connections. The small glass tube is designed to be positioned around columns without leaving room for dead volume or leaks. The device replaces coupled-column setups frequently used in GC x GC as well as coupling of precolumn or a retention gap to the analytical column. As the company reports, “Coupling capillary columns is considered a difficult task, frequently leading to misperforming couplings and substantial down time.”

Phenomenex announced its “Gemini-NX C18” chromatography media designed for strong hydrophobic selectivity and high-loading capacity. Gemini-NX reportedly delivers a significant increase in stability over the company’s original Gemini product. The media features advanced “TWIN-NX (Two-in-One)” technology, which grafts additional silica-organic layers on the surface of the internal base silica.  The NX process uses cross-linked ethane groups to reinforce the silica and extend the performance to a pH range of 1 to 12. According to the company, “ The extended pH range allows greater flexibility in mobile phase modifications and more control over retention and selectivity of ionizable compounds. Because the majority of pharmaceutical compounds possess ionizable functional groups, Gemini-NX has wide applications in drug discovery, method development, and large-scale purification.”