“Necessity,” Plato said, “is the mother of invention.” For Aptuit LLC , a global pharmaceutical services company with labs in Europe, necessity came at the heels of increased customer demand for its help in ramping up the drug discovery process and bringing new medicines to market. Always the innovator, Aptuit seized the opportunity to launch an ambitious growth initiative in 2016. In addition to adding nearly 100 new scientists to its labs, the company launched a comprehensive search for new analytical technologies to strengthen its ability to test for elemental impurities in pharmaceuticals as required by the new US Pharmacopeia (USP) chapters <232> and <233> and ICH Q3D.1
Developing A Competitive Scorecard
“We used to send out our samples to a third party lab for elemental analysis,” says Mike Cole, Director, Analytical Operations at Aptuit, “but the costs were becoming expensive, and it took much longer to analyze. So the decision was made to bring that part of the business in-house.”
True to his company’s commitment to scientific excellence and innovation, Aptuit’s Cole and a colleague developed an internal screening scorecard to rate three competitive analytical instruments on several key features. “PerkinElmer’s NexION® ICP-MS won out on added extras it was able to deliver, including software, compliance, and service,” Cole says. Since the NexION instrument’s installation at Aptuit’s Oxfordshire UK laboratory, its scientists have never had cause to look back.
“The NexION ICP-MS has essentially paid for itself with the savings realized from not having to use a third party lab and the time we have saved in not having to prep samples and figure out the logistics of how to get them back and forth,” Cole says. “We have already saved roughly £100,000 a year.”
Better yet, the NexION ICP-MS is allowing Aptuit to now offer its own “premium services” to outside labs in need of analytical expertise. Leveraging its testing capabilities, the Oxfordshire site is also able to provide other labs with the integration of chemistry, testing, and risk assessment to further expand its new opportunities in the pharmaceutical sector.
Going Head To Head
For Denis Besic, Team Leader in the Analytical Development and Quality Department at Aptuit’s Verona, Italy, facility, the choice of upgrading the site’s analytical instrumentation was a relatively easy one. Besic already had experience with a major competitor’s ICP-MS while he was with a former employer, and he describes the experience as “less than satisfactory.” He also says he did not feel comfortable with the poor level of support offered by a second company he had evaluated. “I wanted support from experienced personnel, not just a local service team with no experience using the instrument or understanding of what my needs were,” he says.
That left only one logical choice—PerkinElmer’s NexION ICP-MS. After purchasing two instruments at his former post in Croatia, Besic says the reproducibility and sensitivity with the NexION were as expected, and it allowed for more flexibility in reporting. “The NexION can also be adjusted to the particular needs of my lab, with little downtime,” he says. That experience made Besic’s recent decision to outfit Aptuit’s Verona, Italy, lab with a NexION ICP-MS pretty much a an easy decision. “Based on experience, the NexION ICP-MS is a very good instrument considering all the competition,” he says.