Agilent launches HPLC chips for drug discovery studies

By Wai Lang Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Mass spectrometry High performance liquid chromatography

Agilent's breakthrough HPLC-Chip technology forms the basis of its
new reusable microfluidic chips, designed to compliment the
company's high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) chip/mass
spectrometry (MS) modules.

Agilent's HPLC-Chips are the first devices that separate complex mixtures using microfluidics (the movement of liquids through tiny channels). At the centre of the technology is a reusable polymer chip that provides 3,500 times greater sensitivity and more than twice the productivity of conventional systems.

Tony Owen, marketing manager for liquid phase analysis products, told​: "The HPLC-Chip/MS makes the sensitivity increases already achieved by nanospray LC/MS, making this method more attainable to researchers in the drug discovery and proteomics sector. The chips eliminate the majority of fittings and connections of conventional nanoflow LC/MS systems."

"This reduces the potential for leaks and dead volumes while enhancing chromatographic performance, reliability and simplifying the workflow."

The technology combines HPLC nanoflow with an electrospray ionisation source in a reusable microfluidic chip approximately the size of a credit card.

Research done by David Stapleton, research transfer facility manager, Bio21 Molecular Science and Biotechnology Institute, Melbourne, Australia, has shown that using the HPLC-Chip, productivity was doubled, analysis of four to six samples per hour instead of the one or two achieved with classical nanoflow-LC was achieved.

"The plug-and-play aspects of these chips unlock the profound benefits of nanoflow analysis for researchers hindered by the complexity of conventional nanoflow systems,"​ said Chris van Ingen, president of Agilent​'s Chemical Analysis and Life Sciences group.

Agilent's first two HPLC-Chips, the Protein ID chip and the MS Calibration and Diagnostic chip, were introduced about a year ago with the company further developing five additional chips to cover a wider range of applications.

To enable compliance and experiment management, the HPLC-Chip includes a radio frequency tag that contains information such as HPLC-Chip ID and type, documentation, diagnostic and operational data, and additional memory for user comments.

The RF tag is read each time the chip is inserted into the HPLC-Chip Cube interface on the mass spec, and information is updated on the tag before chip removal.

The second component of the Agilent 1200 series HPLC-Chip/MS system is the HPLC-Chip/MS Cube interface.

In addition to positioning the electrospray ionisation tip in an orthogonal position to the MS inlet for maximum sensitivity and robustness, the HPLC-Chip Cube MS interface automatically loads and seals the HPLC-Chip, establishing high-pressure, leak-tight fluid connections.

Agilent's other chips within the range include the Protein ID Chip #2, which features a 40nl enrichment column and 150mm x 75um analytical column packed with Zorbax 300SB C18 5um.

It accompanies the original Protein ID Chip, which has a 40nl enrichment column and 43mm x 75um analytical column with the same Zorbax packing material and features a longer analytical column for enhanced resolution and peak capacity.

Included in the collection is the Infusion Chip, designed for applications requiring direct infusion or automated flow injection of the sample directly into the mass spectrometer at nanoflow rates for the collection of MS and MS/MS data.

Unlike other HPLC-Chips, this chip does not include an enrichment or analytical column.

The Small Molecule Chip, designed for pharmaceutical and other small molecule applications.It contains a 40 nl enrichment column and 43mm x 75um analytical column packed with Zorbax 80SB C18 5um.

The Glycan Chip, for use in oligosaccharide separation applications, can also be used for the separation of polar small molecules and isomeric compounds, such as geometric isomers and diastereoisomers.

This chip features a 40nl enrichment column and 43mm x 75um analytical column packed with graphitised carbon material.

Lastly Agilent make available a Custom Chip - standard-layout HPLC-Chips with customer-specified media, which customers can order custom layouts, features and functionalities.

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