The science of collecting, processing, and transmitting knowledge about the composition and structure of matter is analytical chemistry. To put it alternatively, it is mainly the art and science of deciding what matter is and how much of it.
The quest for cheaper, more effective, more accurate, greener, and smaller alternatives is one of the critical factors driving research in chemistry and other areas of science.
Read on to find out how these have emerged as major trends in analytical chemistry.
Miniaturization is probably the most visible emerging trend in analytical chemistry. Rapid advances in instrumentation have resulted in an impressive array of benchtop and portable instruments. Who would have guessed a few decades ago that an NMR spectrometer could be the size of a shoebox and easily sit on your lab bench?
A Raman spectrometer can now fit in your pocket and be used to identify explosives and other illicit substances in the field quickly. Food and beverage companies, for example, can quickly test their products in the field, and water can be tested on-site.
MEMS technology plays an increasingly important role in analytical chemistry services. Portable analytical instruments are used for spectroscopic analysis, elemental analysis, thermal analysis, and electrochemical analysis. The most widespread application of mobile devices is pH calculation.
Portable spectroscopic analysis is expected to develop the most in various applications requiring high precision, such as drug testing, environmental testing, and food and beverage analysis.
2. Going greener
Green analytical chemistry is an evolving branch of analytical chemistry that focuses on the field’s sustainable aspects. The emphasis is on reducing hazardous material use while increasing operator and environmental protection.
Some main strategies for developing greener analytical methods include reagent and solvent recycling, substitution, reduction, and detoxification.
Some techniques to be used in the study include remote sensing and direct measurement of untreated samples, online waste management, and automation.
3. Aiming for faster results
High-throughput methods for more effective research are essential outcomes of advances in analytical technology. Because of its higher throughput and enhanced separation efficiency, Ultra-Performance Liquid Chromatography (UPLC) outperforms conventional High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). UPLC is widely used, especially in the pharmaceutical industry.
The improvements have occurred in tandem with advances in software and computers. The massive quantities of data present both a challenge and an opportunity.
Large volumes of data must be sorted, processed, and evaluated. This emphasizes the importance of a professional analytical chemist who is also a statistician or chemometrician and an expert in sampling, instrumentation, and interpretation.
While analytical chemistry has historically been a hands-on area, there has been a greater involvement of computers and greater use of simulations. DryLab, for example, is a method creation program that allows researchers to predict chromatograms with very few data points, saving time and money on additional experiments.
Hyphenated methods such as GC x GC-MS and LC x LC-MS have been commonly used in the last few decades by the drug discovery companies in Bangalore. Many advances are being made in column technology and mass spectrometry. In contrast to the single quadrupole mass spectrometry, triple quadrupole mass spectrometers can provide highly selective and sensitive results.
The growth of continuous techniques can be seen, for example, in separation techniques with the advancement of continuous separations. There is a distinct movement toward eliminating multistep, batch-type procedures.
Global Pharmaceutical Industry and The Future of Drug Discovery and Development
Ever since the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the stage was set for the pharmaceutical industry to demonstrate its resolution for the human race. With the fusion of human instincts and modern technology, it is for the first time in world history that a vaccine has been developed within a year.
But how was the process of vaccine development, which otherwise takes decades to reach the finish line, was accelerated?
The answer to this question lies in merging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning with the process of drug discovery and development. By achieving the phenomenal feat of releasing the vaccine within a year, everyone is asking the same question- how will technological innovations change the landscape of the pharmaceutical industry?
More importantly, what would be the scope and challenges of drug discovery in the light of new innovations?
To cover all of your queries, we would first talk about technological innovations in the field of drug discovery and development, followed by its scope of evolution and challenges in the future.
Technological Innovations in Drug Discovery & Development:
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have revolutionized the process of drug discovery and development.
With the ability to process colossal amounts of data, AI would help in streamlining the tasks related to biomarker discovery, outlier identification, and the creation of synthetic control arms (activities concerned with drug discovery and development).
The efficacy of using these technologies was proved last year where Machine-Learning systems were used to draw insights relating to understanding the structure of the COVID-19 virus and anticipating which of its components would provoke an immune system.
In other words, it can be said that by using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in the process of drug discovery and development, costs and timelines would get reduced and the ultimate by-product would be better and effective drugs.
Scope of Evolution
By inducing technological innovations into the drug discovery and development processes, one can say that the scope of evolution for the pharmaceutical industry is broad and extensive.
For instance, earlier, pharmaceutical companies would not consider investing and finding the cures of rare diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s as its ROI would not cover their costs.
However, through AI-driven technologies, several pharmaceutical companies are now focusing on finding a cure for these diseases. Thus, it can be said that the pharmaceutical industry can now enter into new doors, something which was not feasible in the past.
Another way through which AI is widening the scope of evolution of the pharmaceutical industry is by bridging the gap between patients wanting to participate in clinical trials and pharmaceutical companies, through virtual clinical trials or with the help of contract research organizations.
Challenges to Drug Discovery and Development
While technological innovations and the scope of evolution of the pharmaceutical industry does seem upbeat and optimistic, it doesn’t mean that the industry won’t encounter any challenges in the future:
- Compression of the timeline for drug discovery and development through technological innovations would bring more complexity, leading to making more decisions. Since human decision-making isn’t evolving with technology, there might be a difference of opinion on how to move forward with a decision.
- The current IT infrastructure of most of the pharmaceutical companies is not developed to run an AI mind. Hence, they cannot store huge chunks of data and lack the power to process it effectively.
A future perspective
The future of the pharmaceutical industry and drug discovery and development seems bright. By integrating Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, the pharmaceutical industry would be able to create safer and effective drugs that would be backed by data-driven decision making.
Analytical chemistry is a hot topic right now, so keep an eye on it. It can be viewed as a supporting discipline in the advancement of many other fields that use analytical chemistry methods. The coming years will reveal how this toolbox evolves and what new features become available. More info: https://www.jubilantbiosys.com/