UK firms link up on separation technology

Related tags Chromatography High performance liquid chromatography

Peakdale Molecular and Dynamic Extractions are to collaborate on
the development of a new separation technology with applications in
drug discovery, development and manufacture.

DynEx' countercurrent chromatography extraction (CCE) technology will be used alongside Peakdale's chemistry expertise to develop new systems for the the efficient purification of new chemical compounds and potential drug targets.

CCE can be used to isolate gram to kilogram quantities of novel compounds in a very short timeframe, in many cases replacing expensive and time-consuming rival technologies such as high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and flash chromatography, according to the firms.

As well as high throughput purification, the technology is also suitable for scale-up from analytical to manufacturing processes. Currently no high-resolution purification systems can be scaled from analytical to full process scale while maintaining the same principle of purification.

DynEx' CCE technology consists of a mixture to be separated, a length of tubing and two solvent liquids that do not dissolve in each other. One liquid, named the stationary liquid, is retained in the tubing whilst the other, called the mobile liquid, is pumped through the tubing. The mixture is introduced in the mobile liquid and is separated into its component fractions by the time it emerges at the other end of the tubing.

A separation of the mixture occurs, because along the tubing's length there are alternate mixing and settling zones created by winding the tubing in a coil on a drum, which is centrifugally rotated. The order in which the fractions appear depends on how soluble they are between the two liquids.

The company notes that the sample can undergo up to 100,000 mixing and settling steps per hour. This allows the technology to be applied to the separation of substances which are difficult to purify by other techniques and which may be unstable by other techniques.

Commenting on the collaboration, Kimberley Morrison, CEO of Peakdale, said: "We are now able to produce and scale up compounds in very high purity, faster and easier than ever."

Peakdale and DynEx have already put the collaboration to practice on a confidential project. In less than four months, more than 1kg of drug candidate was purified, allowing Peakdale to successfully scale up the chemical synthesis despite a late-stage purification issue.

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