Thursday, 28 February 2013

MTS Recommends... Getting it Write?

R.D. McDowall, LCGC Europe, Volume 25, Issue 11, pp. 630-639, 
Well written and easy to follow analytical procedures are critical in any lab but, as I often find during method transfer studies, the way a method is written can create confusion and errors. This article from Bob McDowall is a great read if you have the unenviable task of preparing procedures.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

How Does the Update to Chapter 6 of the EU GMP Guidelines Affect You? - Part 2

In a previous blog post I summarised the proposed changes relating to method transfer in the public consultation document for Chapter 6 of the EU GMP Guidelines. Although the inclusion of the section on method transfer is the biggest revision to chapter 6, there are number of other proposed updates. In this blog post I will take a look at some of these.
Since the reason given for the changes is: ‘Inclusion of a new section on Technical transfer of testing methods and other items such as out of specification results’, and I have already dealt with method transfer, I will start with out of specification results. Under the section heading ‘Documentation’, there is a new requirement for: ‘a procedure for the investigation of Out Of Specification and anomalous results and Out Of Trend results’ (6.7)
The expectation that a QC laboratory will have a procedure detailing how they will deal with OOS results is long standing and most labs will already have this in place. The wording makes it clear that this procedure also needs to detail investigation of anomalous results and OOT results. These are typically investigated in the same way as OOS results.
Also under the Documentation heading, the recommendation that records are kept in a manner permitting trend evaluation has been updated to ‘should be recorded in a manner permitting trend evaluation’ with the additional sentence, ‘Any out of trend or out of specification data should be addressed and subject to investigation.’ (6.9)
Sampling is another area which has updates. In 6.11, referring to sample taking, there is an additional requirement that it ‘should be done and recorded in accordance with approved procedures.’ Therefore, if the sampling operation is not currently documented each time, it will need to be in future. In 6.12 there is an extra sentence: ‘the sampling plan used should be appropriately justified.’ It may be that the plan was devised sometime in the past and reasons which were so apparent then are no longer so clear. The requirement to justify the plan ensures that it is scientifically sound.
Under the Testing heading the paragraph regarding method validation (6.15) has been extended to include the following ‘A laboratory that is using a testing method and which did not perform the original validation (e.g. the use of a compendial method), should verify the appropriateness of the testing method.’ So even if a method is taken from a pharmacopeia its use in a particular laboratory needs to be shown to be suitable for the purpose for which it is being used. This assessment may conclude that no actual experimental work needs to be performed but some type of documentation should support this finding.
A new paragraph (6.20) has been inserted which reflects the importance of reference standards, making it clear that ‘Reference standards should be certified, qualified and verified as suitable for its intended use.’
The shelf life of analytical solutions, etc. is addressed in section 6.22. The requirement to mark with the date of preparation has been extended to opening date. Additionally: ‘Their in-use shelf life should be established/documented and scientifically justified.
Finally, there are two new sections relating to the microbiological laboratory, these are:
6.21 Culture media should be prepared in accordance with the manufacturer’s requirements unless scientifically justified. The performance of all culture media should be verified prior to use.
6.25 Microbiological media and strains should be decontaminated and disposed of in a manner to prevent the cross-contamination and retention of residues. The in-use shelf life of microbiological media should be established, documented and scientifically justified.
In general, the emphasis of the updates is on scientific understanding and justification of the analytical methodology being used in the QC laboratory.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Training Courses in London, April 2013: Analytical Method Validation & Transfer; Developing Stability Indicating HPLC Methods

In April, Mourne Training Services is offering 3 training courses in London. These are:

10th & 11th April 2013
Validation of Analytical Methods for Pharmaceutical Analysis

12th April 2013
Transfer of Analytical Methods for Pharmaceutical Analysis

15th & 16th April 2013
How to Develop Stability Indicating HPLC Methods

Click on the course titles above for more information about each course; including a course description, and a booking form containing costs and available discounts.

Submit the booking form or contact us by the 18th March to secure our early booking rate. The venue for the training is Jurys Inn Heathrow, convenient for travel by car or public transport.

If the dates don't suit you then take a look at our full course calendar for 2013. These courses are also available at our London location in November, and in Berlin (May, June & December) and Dublin (June).


Thursday, 14 February 2013

7 Free HPLC Tools on the Web

There are quite a few free tools on the web to help you use HPLC effectively. I have chosen seven tools to share with you in this blog that I think should prove useful, in no particular order of preference. Please let me know if there are any others that you think should have been mentioned and I’ll include them in a future blog.

1. HPLC Troubleshooting Guide by Uwe Neue
This excellent troubleshooting guide by the late Dr. Neue takes the form of a series of questions and answers, where each topic starts off with a question describing a particular problem and the answer suggests a possible solution. This is then followed up with more information and builds up into a dialogue on each troubleshooting topic. The guide is well written in an easy to understand format and is presented as a pdf where the bookmarks have been carefully set up to allow you to navigate through the document easily and find the topic that relates to your troubleshooting enquiry. Click here to access the guide.

2. Troubleshooting Look-up Table
This is a straightforward troubleshooting resource from Macherey-Nagel where you click on your symptom, be it related to chromatography, pressure or a leak, and the webpage will scroll down and present you with a selection of possible reasons for the problem. I think that it is a good resource to prompt a user who has some experience of HPLC about potential sources of typical problems. There is a little bit of product placement in this tool, where Macherey-Nagel products are recommended, but it's fairly minimal. Click here to access the webpage. 

3. HPLC Method Transfer Calculator 
Many manufacturers provide scaling calculators so that you can makes changes to HPLC method parameters and still retain similar chromatography. Recently scaling from HPLC to UHPLC and vice versa has become important as the new capabilities of UHPLC are exploited. One of these calculators is from Supelco, it is available online, and also as mobile app for Android and iPhone/iPad. It’s easy to use, you simply input your current method parameters and the change you wish to make to particle size, column length and internal diameter, the tool will provide the new method conditions. It works for isocratic and gradient methods. 
Click here to access the tool.

4. Liquid Chromatography Textbook
Liquid Chromatography (Chrom-Ed Series) by Raymond P. W. Scott, Library 4 Science
This useful textbook contains detailed descriptions of the components of liquid chromatography systems, e.g. pumps, detectors, etc., and is likely to be helpful to enhance understanding of these. It also covers silica and bonded phases together with some case studies.
The book is available to purchase on Amazon for only £3.97 but is also available as a free Kindle download on certain days of the month. The next free day is 30th March 2013. Full details are available at:
Watch out for the time zone on the download day!

5. USP Column Equivalency Application
For those of you who don’t work in the pharmaceutical Industry, USP is ‘United States Pharmacopeia’. The column comparison tool that they offer is free to access and useful to anyone using HPLC, not just those who work with pharmaceuticals. The tool will allow you to find a column that is equivalent to one which you specify, or may also be used to find a column which has different selectivity, something that can be very useful during method development. Click here to start the application and when you have agreed to the disclaimer, click on ‘Compare Columns’. There are two database options, I recommend the bottom one, or PQRI (Product Quality Research Institute) Database. Select the column you are interested in from the drop down menu and, if you know there are acids and bases in your sample, tick the appropriate boxes. You can also specify a pH. There are two other options, either select ‘View Similar’ or ‘View Different’ as required. A full description of the approach and how the database was created can be accessed on the webpage.

6. LC Calculator from Agilent
This calculator is available as a mobile app for iPhone™ and iPod touch® but there is also a web version that you can use on your desktop (requires flash). It is designed “to help you quickly determine both flow rate and back pressure under a wide variety of conditions and column dimensions”. I think this tool is great for checking out if a method is viable in terms of the back pressure when I want to change method parameters such as particle size, column length and internal diameter, and flow rate. This allows optimisation of the method without having to check these experimentally. Although the system pressure of your HPLC is not included in the result,  it still provides a good starting point.
Click here to access the tool, you can select the mobile app or web version. Agilent also provide an article describing the use of the calculator which may be helpful (click here to view).

7. MTS HPLC Calculator
And finally, I couldn’t leave out the HPLC calculator provided by yours truly! This free download includes a range of helpful calculations, none of which you couldn’t do yourself, but intended to be a convenient tool for those with a busy workload. It will help with equilibration times, preparation of mobile phase and using scouting gradients for method development. Click here to access the download page.


Thursday, 7 February 2013

New Course: How to Develop Stability Indicating HPLC Methods

Pharmaceuticals need to be assessed for stability to support the assigned shelf life. Therefore, when analysing stability samples obtained from these studies analytical methods are required which are stability indicating, i.e. there is a measureable response which correlates with degradation, if present. HPLC is a popular technique for monitoring the decrease in drug and corresponding increase in degradation products due to its separating abilities. However, the HPLC method must be developed carefully to ensure that degradation products are both separated and detected appropriately. 

This year MTS is introducing a new 2-day course which will enable you to develop a suitable method. The course will describe strategies for performing forced degradation studies and selecting optimal HPLC method parameters to ensure that all relevant degradation products are separated.
The course dates and locations are as follows:
15th & 16th April 2013: Jurys Inn Heathrow, London, UK
17th & 18th June 2013: Steigenberger Hotel Berlin , Germany
11th & 12th November 2013: Jurys Inn Heathrow, London, UK
9th & 10th December 2013: GLS Campus Hotel Berlin , Germany

Contact us if you have any questions about the course, the full costs are detailed on the booking form, click here.