How can I reduce flash column purification time and cost?

This is a question being asked of my colleagues and me more and more frequently, especially in pharma accounts.  Why?  Well, you are familiar with the adage – Time is Money, right.  Well this really applies to them. A new molecular entity (NME) created as a pharmaceutical can take up to a decade and a billion dollars to bring to market.  Granted, the biggest costs are in the clinical trials but the synthetic route and the time to discover and make the compound – and purify it – plays a major role within drug discovery and development. This timeline is not helped by the ever increasingly difficult-to-synthesize compounds being investigated as drug candidates today.

With that in mind, this post focuses on ways to speed the purification process without sacrificing purity and yield.

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Published by

Bob Bickler

Technical Specialist, Biotage

One thought on “How can I reduce flash column purification time and cost?”

  1. Hello Bob

    We tend not to think about loading capacity but we often need to get as much material as possible onto the column, especially when working on a large scale. This tends to be limited by the size of the dry loading cartridge, liquid loading is very rare. For a 120g column I routinely use 13.3g of dry loading silica, this results in 10% of the column for dispersion of the sample and 90% to do the purification. Of course dry loading can be increased e.g. 51.4g of dry load which results in 30% of the column for dispersion of the sample and 70% to do the purification. There has to be a limit as to how far you can push this but I can see it is going to help if the column which does the purification has a large surface area, you just get more chromatography to the inch.
    I’d like to see a comparison of separation vs grams of dry load, it often seems to make little difference for routine clean up but I suspects it starts to matter when there is a difficult separation to be done. It is going to affect peak width but maybe not that much. A 10% dry load will add 0.1CV to the peak width. A 30% dry load will add 0.3CV to the peak width. I you have broad peaks then this might not seem much but if you have narrow peaks then it starts to matter.

    Derek

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