Company Integrating Cost-Effective Chemical Solvent Alternatives
Gardner, MA - New England Peptide, LLC (NEP) today announced its solutions to the worldwide shortage of acetonitrile, a critical chemical ingredient used in the purification and analysis of pharmaceutical and research grade peptides.
In recent months, NEP has added a globally-renowned peptide researcher, Dr. Robert Hodges, to its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) and named a peptide chemistry expert, Dr. Robert Hammer, as its new Director of Chemical Development
Hammer and Hodges are leading NEP’s efforts to implement measures to replace acetonitrile as a solvent in the high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) of peptides. HPLC is a commonly-used process in biochemistry and pharmaceutical chemistry to quantify the purity of compounds such as peptides and also to prepare pure compounds for research and pharmaceutical uses. In recent months, NEP has successfully purified hundreds of peptides using these alternative methods for customers across the globe.
“While the acetonitrile shortage is a challenge to the peptide industry, it also provides an opportunity to create a cost-effective solution to this global crisis,” said NEP CEO Dave Robinson. “The additions of Dr. Hodges and Dr. Hammer to our expert team positions NEP to successfully pursue the use of alternative solvents.”
Acetonitrile is a byproduct of the automotive industry that is the primary chemical solvent used in HPLC analysis and purification of peptides. The global slowdown of the automotive industry, combined with the temporary shuttering of key acetonitrile production plants, has caused a global shortage of the product that could last well into 2009.
Under the direction of Hammer and with the consultation of Hodges, NEP has already started using alternative chemical solvents, including methanol and isopropanol. Hammer noted that the use of these alternative solvents can provide the same level of purity and yield as acetonitrile while not increasing costs. NEP has already begun to utilize alcohol solvents in its production with excellent results and without delays in delivery of peptide products to customers.
“NEP has already purified hundreds of peptides utilizing alcohol solvents in our production without interruption of service to our customers” said Hammer. “In some cases we even see superior performance in difficult separations.”
Hammer joined NEP in September from Louisiana State University (LSU), where he was the William A. Pryor Professor of Chemistry. Hammer is the recipient of a dozen major national and international honors and awards, including Lee Irvin Smith Award for High Ability and Leadership in Organic Chemistry. In 2006, his work on peptide analogues for inhibiting amyloid protein aggregation was recognized by Scientific American. Hammer earned his doctoral degree in organic chemistry from the University of Minnesota, where he worked with research advisor George Barany, Ph.D..
Hodges joins the SAB with a 35-year reputation as a peptide research expert. He is currently the Director of the Program in Biomolecular Structure, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the University of Colorado, Denver, School of Medicine, where he holds the John Stewart Chair in Peptide Chemistry. In 2002, he won the Vincent Du Vigneaud Award from the American Peptide Society for outstanding achievements in peptide research. He also worked under Dr. Bruce Merrifield, the American biochemist who won the 1984 Nobel Prize in chemistry for the invention of solid phase peptide synthesis.. Bob Hodges graduated with his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Alberta. He is Past President of the American Peptide Society.
About New England Peptide (www.newenglandpeptide.com)
New England Peptide, founded in 1998, designs and produces custom peptides and polyclonal antibodies for drug and vaccine discovery organizations worldwide. Headquartered in the Boston metro area in Gardner, Mass., the company’s chemists and immunological experts specialize in delivering a full range of services for biotech and pharmaceutical applications.
Peptides are small proteins that play key roles in biochemical regulation of all life systems, helping to fight diseases as diverse as cancer, diabetes, obesity and HIV/AIDS. Peptides’ inherent low toxicity and high potency, coupled with improved drug delivery methods and enhanced manufacturing capabilities, are fueling a surge in research and clinical use. All segments of the peptide market – from therapeutics and vaccines to diagnostics and cosmetics – are thriving.