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BRISBANE-based preclinical contract research organisation TetraQ is set to almost double its throughput for analysis of samples for the pharmaceutical and biotech industry with the implementation of a leading edge technology system.

TetraQ, based at The University of Queensland, commissioned its $300,000 Spark Symbiosis direct on-line solid-phase extraction sample preparation system from The Netherlands late last year. The innovation has already received positive feedback from clients.

TetraQ Bioanalysis facility manager, Dr Russell Addison, said the robotic sample preparation equipment allowed the contract research organisation to process samples from clinical trials and preclinical trials more efficiently.

“The Spark robotics, linked to our triple quadrupole mass spectrometers and validated WinNonLin data processing software, provides significant advantages to our clients in the pharmaceutical industry to whom time is of the essence,” Dr Addison said.

“The Symbiosis system is an automated on-line sample preparation system that uses separate solid phase extraction cartridges to extract the drugs being tested from plasma. The direct analysis of plasma samples to speed up sample analysis has always been our goal.

“This machine greatly assists with the throughput of this analysis, so it can contribute to decreasing the overall time required to get a new drug or a new formulation onto the market.

“We are experiencing at least a 30 per cent reduction in project time from commencement of analysis to the final report to our customers. The Spark decreases the requirement for the use of large volumes of organic solvents usually used in the more traditional manual-extraction procedure.  This has cost and environmental advantages as well,” he said.

Dr Keith Dredge, Preclinical Development Director of TetraQ client, Progen Pharmaceuticals Limited, said the Spark Symbiosis System had enabled TetraQ to develop a fully validated bioanalytical assay for its lead drug candidate, which was proving extremely difficult with conventional methods and instrumentation.

“Apart from keeping our drug development project on track, we are confident that this instrument, together with TetraQ's expertise, will support the evolutionary changes that typically arise during the drug development process as we move our product into the clinic,” Dr Dredge said.

TetraQ is the first preclinical contract research organisation in Australia to be equipped with this leading edge technology that provides  services to biopharmaceutical industry clients locally  and internationally to assist them with their development of a broad range of drug and biological products.