Eksigent and Phenomenex team up for capillary HPLC

Eksigent and Phenomenex Inc. have embarked on a strategic marketing and technology collaboration to develop columns optimized for capillary HPLC systems.

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DUBLIN, Calif.—Eksigent, a leading provider of cap­illary HPLC systems, and Phenomenex Inc., a large manufacturer of HPLC columns, have embarked on a strategic marketing and technology collabo­ration to develop columns optimized for capillary HPLC systems.
That may not sound all that exciting at first glance, but Eksigent's Senior Product Market­ing Manager Phillip H. DeLand, says the move is extremely important if capillary HPLC is going to move into the mainstream of drug discovery and development anytime soon.
"Capillary HPLC offers a number of perfor­mance benefits for analytical chemists, but com­panies that manufacture columns have not previ­ously embraced capillary HPLC," DeLand notes.
Part of the problem for researchers who might want to use capillary HPLC is getting reliable col­umns in a 300 micron format. Companies like Waters and Agilent, he says, have their own instrumentation hardware and thus self-inter­est keeps them tied to offering more traditional columns. Smaller companies offer 300-micron columns—and Eksigent used them in the past to supply its capillary HPLC customers with col­umns—but those columns weren't always consis­tent in quality.
"A lot of them were using conventional-scale HPLC systems and pressing them into service to [perform quality control on] capillary columns," DeLand explains. Thus, Eksigent customers might get a column for their capillary HPLC system one time that worked fine, and a second column later that did not—or vice-versa—thus making them think their HPLC system was not working prop­erly, when in fact the problem was with a column itself.
Phenomenex, however, had both the skill and the willingness to embrace the manufacture of columns that were properly tested for capillary HPLC specifically and could give drug discovery researchers a wide choice of columns from which to choose, DeLand says, something which both companies think will be a boon to drug discovery.
"The combination of Eksigent microfluidic technology and Phenomenex column chemistries delivers high-speed, high-resolu­tion separations for pharmaceu­tical research and development," says Emmet Welch, senior man­ager of product development at Phenomenex. "This agreement also expands the range of plat­forms with which Phenomenex columns are compatible."
"What this does for the drug discovery market in general is to ensure that there are columns for capillary HPLC with a very wide variety of stationary phases," DeLand adds, "and that means that the flexibility and range of separa­tions that you can perform in drug discovery and development can increase dramatically."
Under the agreement, Phenomenex will offer a line of capillary HPLC columns that are tested and optimized for use on Eksigent's ExpressLC instru­ments. In addition, Phenomenex will now use Eksigent systems in its quality control processes for capillary columns.
DeLand says that Eksigent has tried to work with other column makers in the past to get capillary-specific columns manufactured, but noted that they routinely expressed concern that capillary HPLC simply wasn't popular enough yet for them to invest in making columns specifically for such instrumentation.

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