There are fantastic global efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19 through therapies and vaccines and there is much research ongoing on optimizing the vital benefits that can be conferred by these innovative ideas. One of the most encouraging ideas from recent years involves the use of mRNA (messenger RNA). Some COVID-19 vaccines are based on mRNA (which code for structures that are in, or look similar to the viral proteins and thus can be more readily and safety identified by the defence mechanisms of the cell).
Large-scale chromatography is often the only solution to the purification of valuable drug compounds in the pharmaceutical industry. For many manufacturers, bespoke chromatography solutions seem the simplest
and most efficient way of implementing such techniques, utilizing the specialist knowledge of in-house chemical engineers to create a custom solution.
COVID-19 caused accelerated research into developing vaccine options. Some of the created vaccines are based on mRNA which, if not protected, easily degrades in humans before its therapeutic benefits can be realized.
Scale-up is a topic of paramount importance in the industry, drawing on inputs from safety, economic, regulatory and efficiency perspectives. Never before has so much attention focussed on chemical synthesis and workflow. The topic of scale-up is diverse but at its fundamental level, aims to fashion economically viable outputs from simple lab techniques and exploration based on the solid ground of scientific first principles. On scale-up; we often switch evaporation for crystallization, convert overnight lab-scale ‘convenience’ reactions to more effective sequences, think about whether those heat and energy inputs are really necessary, risk assess for runaways etc but how should we handle purification?
For chemists performing bench-scale organic synthesis, flash column chromatography is often the primary purification technique. When synthesis needs scaling to multi-gram levels, so does the flash purification. The logical approach is to increase the flash cartridge or column size, but this is only part of the solution. In this article we discuss the process of simplifying flash purification scale-up.
Chemists are often taught how to use glass columns in schools, so they take fundamental background experience into industry which provides an intuitive advantage in process development applications. However, with the exception analytical RP-HPLC, there is usually relatively little experience of preparative scale reversed phase purification.