HPLC Systems and Components Introduced at Pittcon 2011: A Brief Review

Apr 30, 2011

The Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (Pittcon) is a showcase for the latest advances in laboratory instrumentation and technology, attracting all of the major high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) vendors and a total of more than 1000 exhibiting companies from around the world. Pittcon is a great place for vendors to introduce, and for scientists to see, touch, evaluate, compare, and hear all about the latest in HPLC technology. This installment of "Innovations in HPLC" highlights some of the new HPLC and related technology introduced at this year's conference.

Because Pittcon attracts upwards of 20,000 attendees from industry, academia, and government from more than 90 countries worldwide, the conference provides a great opportunity for vendors to expose new high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) products to both new and existing customers. With this fact in mind, many HPLC vendors have for years coordinated their new product development cycle around Pittcon, introducing new technology at the conference for the first time. Although the proliferation of smaller, specialized conferences has altered this approach somewhat in recent years (for example, many new mass spectrometry [MS] product introductions are now made at the American Society for Mass Spectrometry annual conference), Pittcon still remains a must-attend meeting to see the latest and greatest in HPLC and related technology. For the attendees, the conference provides a venue to evaluate the latest instrumentation, compare vendors, participate in product demonstrations, and speak with technical staff to resolve problems or investigate potential applications.

Table I: Summary of systems and components reviewed in this article
At this year's Pittcon, several vendors introduced new systems and components, as well as product line extensions. In this installment of "Innovations in HPLC," I'll review some of the new HPLC instrument technology shown at the conference; Table I lists the introductions reviewed in this column. (New column and sample preparation technology is reviewed in LCGC by Ron Majors in his "Column Watch" column.)

Biologics Analysis

Sometimes referred to as biotech drugs, biopharmaceuticals, or biotherapeutics, biologicals are protein- or peptide-based therapeutics (also included are nucleic acids, whole cells, monoclonal antibodies, viral particles, and vaccines) derived from either genetically altered bacteria or fungi or from blood and blood plasma products. Recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are examples of two of the most prevalent biologics; follow-on biologics, or biogenerics, is another area garnering increased attention. Many pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are continuing to look for new ways to improve the formulation and delivery of biologic drugs. Because this area is the fastest growing market segment in the pharmaceutical industry, several HPLC instrument vendors have begun to focus on this growing market segment, as evidenced by Pittcon 2011 product introductions. Many Pittcon 2011 instrument introductions for biologics analysis were extensions of existing instrument platforms (ultrahigh-pressure liquid chromatography [UHPLC] remains a growing technology platform for many vendors), while some were based on new instrument technology.