Reflection on Three Decades of Bioanalysis

Tuesday, 21 June 2016 More News

Reflection on Three Decades of Bioanalysis

Reflection on Three Decades of Bioanalysis

As founder and CEO of pharm-analyt I go back a long way.

Back in 1975, when I started in the field of bioanalysis, HPLC was brand new technology and UV detectors with fixed wavelength at 254 nm were just becoming the new standard.

In 1978 I obtained a “SP8000”. Being the “Mercedes” among the HPLC-systems, it featured a ternary gradient(!) and a Schoeffel UV detector with variable wavelength! Coming from GC-technology, it was inconceivable, that most any molecule could be determined – not only evaporable molecules or ones made evaporable through derivatisation. Back then, any new molecule determined in plasma was a little sensation, worth a publication!

In the 1990s HPLC-MS systems with ESI (Electrospray Ionisation) and APCI (Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Ionization) became stable enough to be an option for routine work. This is presuming you had the budget, as the cost of technology was outrageously.

I remember, cleaning and establishing “good vacuum” consumed almost half of our time but at least molecules without chromophores and functional groups for derivatisation (e.g. for fluorescence) now became visible in the low ng/mL range.

In the 1980s, a combination of HPLC with electrochemical detectors and glassy carbon, later with porous graphite, was a brilliant option for molecules that can be oxidised.

Then came mass spec technology. The speed of development of HPLC-MS/MS technology since 1995 is staggering! Analyzing peptides with MS has become routine, not to forget PEGylated drugs, hormones and other formerly “terrible” things!

Of course, the femtogram/mL mark in plasma has been passed a long time ago, and we’re ever continuing to shift the limits!

Being part of this dynamic and innovative world of bioanalysis is such a privilege and we are certainly looking forward to the future!

Join us into a new and exciting decade!


Hermann Mascher
CEO and founder of pharm-analyt