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Phenomenex announces winners of Humanity in Science Award

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The Humanity in Science Award is an international research prize launched in 2014 by Phenomenex and The Analytical Scientist, recognising a breakthrough in analytical science that has truly changed lives for the better

Phenomenex, a global leader in the research and manufacture of advanced technologies for the separation sciences, along with The Analytical Scientist, recently announced the inaugural winners of the 2015 Humanity in Science Award. Dr Peter H Seeberger and Dr Andreas Seidel-Morgenstern of the Max-Planck Institutes in Potsdam and Magdeburg, Germany for their ground-breaking work on antimalarial drugs.

The Humanity in Science Award is an international research prize launched in 2014 by Phenomenex and The Analytical Scientist, recognising a breakthrough in analytical science that has truly changed lives for the better. Applications were received from around the world, addressing humanitarian challenges such as keeping our food and water safe to developing new and better medicines.

“It has been such a pleasure for us to discover the incredible contributions to humanity by so many analytical scientists around the world,” says Fasha Mahjoor, President and Chief Executive Officer, Phenomenex. “Scientists are humble people and, often, their work goes without publicity. We are so pleased to bring light to this amazing life-saving work and to honour our deserving winners with the grand prize.”

Seeberger and Seidel-Morgenstern’s winning essay is titled, ‘Continuous Flow Production and Purification of Malaria Medications’ which allows for cheaper antimalarial medications to be produced.

By coupling flow chemistry with advanced chromatography methods, Seeberger and Seidel-Morgenstern discovered that ACTs can be produced from plant waste material, air, and light. The new process, currently being implemented in a pilot plant in Vietnam, produces an active pharmaceutical ingredient with an HPLC purity of greater than 99.5 per cent, which meets the standards set by the FDA and WHO.

Seeberger and Seidel-Morgenstern will receive $25,000 in prize money and have their inspiring essay published in The Analytical Scientist magazine in 2015 in print and online. They presented their essay at two special Humanity in Science Symposia held at Pittcon recently.

“This recognition of our work by an international jury of leading scientists encourages me to continue our work on translating our scientific breakthrough into a production facility. Thereby, those in need of malaria medications will benefit from better access and lower prices while the dangers of fake medications are reduced,” said Seeberger.

“An efficient isolation of a continuously synthesised target component requires the development of advanced separation processes. Considering the reactor effluents generated in Peter’s group as pseudo-ternary mixtures (an impurity fraction 1, the target, and an impurity fraction 2), artemisinin and artesunate could be purified with our process using several periodically operated chromatographic columns. The approach can be applied to also solve other challenging separation problems,” added Seidel-Morgenstern.

Three runners up will all have their work published in The Analytical Scientist in print and online in 2015. They are Michael H Gelb & Frantisek Turecek (Department of Chemistry, University of Washington, Seattle) for ‘Analytical chemistry in newborn screening’; Don Farthing, H Thomas Karnes, Lynne Gehr, Christine Farthing, Todd Gehr, Terri Larus, and Lei Xi (Virginia Commonwealth University) for ‘Translational research on the use of a rapid analytical methodology for detecting acute cardiac ischemia, at early onset of a heart attack’ and Serge Rudaz and Julie Schappler (School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Geneva) for ‘Low-cost analytical device based on capillary electrophoresis (CE) for counterfeit drug detection and sub-standard drug quality control’.

EP News BureauMumbai

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