The method has been used since the beginning of the 20th century when it was developed by Russian botanist Mikhail Semyonovich Tsvet. Since then, it has been adopted by a wide range of industries, with the list of applications of chromatography continuing to grow and evolve.
Continuing advancements in the methodology and technology used for chromatography has helped to establish the process as a standard laboratory technique across sectors, allowing it to remain relevant and useful, meeting analytical demands in a range of scientific scenarios.
Below, we discuss the recent developments in chromatography that is helping to continue to move the method forward.
The pharmaceutical industry is heavily regulated due to the necessity of ensuring the safety and efficacy of its products. The sector has relied on chromatography for decades to reliably measure the levels of impurities and degradation products within active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) to determine their safety and meet the specific guidelines implemented by authorities worldwide.
All areas in the pharmaceutical industry, from research through to drug development and quality control use chromatography to assess the chemical purity of the products being developed.
Currently, the gold standard of pharmaceutical analysis is reversed-phase liquid chromatography (RPLC). However, as costs of drug development have risen, and the complexity of the drug discovery process has increased in recent years, the pharmaceutical industry has demanded better performance from RPLC methods, both in terms of throughput and resolution.
In response, ultrahigh performance/pressure liquid chromatography (UHPLC) was developed. This updated technique allows for higher levels of efficiency and increased throughput in comparison with conventional chromatography methods.
Since the development of UHPLC, chromatography methods have seen further advancements as a result of pressures from the pharmaceutical industry. Recent years have seen a boom in research into protein biopharmaceuticals, such as monoclonal antibodies. These novel classes of biomolecules have specific analytical needs, which have forced the evolution of chromatography methods to meet these needs.
Recently, several innovative chromatographic columns have emerged onto the market, primarily for applications in the pharmaceutical industry, such as analysis of protein biopharmaceuticals and chiral drugs, as well as detecting genotoxic impurities.