PLEASANTON, Calif.—Aspectrics Inc., which produces encoded photometric infrared (EP-IR) technology, has entered into an exclusive agreement with Thermo Fisher Scientific to integrate Thermo Scientific GRAMS spectroscopy software with Aspectrics' Encoded Photometric Near Infrared EP-NIR process analyzers. Although not a move that will be immediately felt in the drug discovery world, the EP-NIR technology does have the potential to supplement or supplant current infrared analysis technologies—such as non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR)—in the preclinical realm.
"We haven't spent much time developing a market for our EP-IR technology in the research part of the pharmaceutical world," admits Jim Yano, vice president of marketing for Aspectrics. "We've mostly looked at pharmaceutical processing, like use of our product in dryers. One of the other areas we're looking at closely is the ability of our technology to rapidly screen tablets for content uniformity.
"That being said, I think there are significant opportunities on the R&D side for fast screening of assays or various types of solutions if you're looking for specific compounds, markers, proteins, genes and the like."
David Joyce, informatics product manager at Thermo Fisher Scientific, agrees, saying the major impact of the collaboration for the pharmaceutical discovery field down the line will be that high-speed capture data provided by EP-NIR facilitates reaction analysis using the chemometric capabilities of Thermo's GRAMS software.
"EP-NIR provides a rich data source which can then be mined using tools such as ReactionSleuth for GRAMS," Joyce notes. "The ultimate aim is a better understanding of reaction kinetics and the intermediate species involved."
A key reason Aspectrics wanted to partner with Thermo was to get more penetration into the pharmaceutical realm, with an eye toward the production side of the industry first, followed likely by development and discovery.
"One of the main reasons for our agreement with Thermo is that our software isn't 21 CFR part 11 compliant, but their GRAMS software is, and with us taking our technology into the pharmaceutical market, that's a must," Yano says. "We've put our resources and energy into making out EP-IR product rugged and fast and we don't really have the resources for major software development. Thermo brings that capability to us, though, as well as having an excellent reputation in the market."
Aspectrics' EP-NIR analyzers are said to offer a more efficient alternative to traditional NIR systems, with a spectral range extending further than the common 2100 nm and achieving a range of 1375-2750 nm. The patented Encoder Disk technology provides "ultra fast" sampling capability of 100 Hz for multi-component analysis.
"The advantages of our technology over NDIR and FTIR technology is that it is faster and much more rugged," Yano says. "Also, unlike in FTIR, our product scans using encoder disks instead of moving a mirror around."
Thermo Scientific GRAMS is a spectroscopy software solution used by industry professionals worldwide for visualizing, processing and managing data from FT-IR, NIR, Raman, UV-Vis, fluorescence, NMR and hyphenated instruments manufactured by multiple vendors.