Monday, March 15th, 2010
BRISBANE-based preclinical contract research organisation TetraQ is set to almost double its throughput for analysis of samples for the pharmaceutical and biotech industry with the implementation of a leading edge technology system.

TetraQ, based at The University of Queensland, commissioned its $300,000 Spark Symbiosis direct on-line solid-phase extraction sample preparation system from The Netherlands late last year. The innovation has already received positive feedback from clients.

TetraQ Bioanalysis facility manager, Dr Russell Addison, said the robotic sample preparation equipment allowed the contract research organisation to process samples from clinical trials and preclinical trials more efficiently.

“The Spark robotics, linked to our triple quadrupole mass spectrometers and validated WinNonLin data processing software, provides significant advantages to our clients in the pharmaceutical industry to whom time is of the essence,” Dr Addison said.

“The Symbiosis system is an automated on-line sample preparation system that uses separate solid phase extraction cartridges to extract the drugs being tested from plasma. The direct analysis of plasma samples to speed up sample analysis has always been our goal.

“This machine greatly assists with the throughput of this analysis, so it can contribute to decreasing the overall time required to get a new drug or a new formulation onto the market.

“We are experiencing at least a 30 per cent reduction in project time from commencement of analysis to the final report to our customers. The Spark decreases the requirement for the use of large volumes of organic solvents usually used in the more traditional manual-extraction procedure. This has cost and environmental advantages as well,” he said.

Dr Keith Dredge, Preclinical Development Director of TetraQ client, Progen Pharmaceuticals Limited, said the Spark Symbiosis System had enabled TetraQ to develop a fully validated bioanalytical assay for its lead drug candidate, which was proving extremely difficult with conventional methods and instrumentation.

“Apart from keeping our drug development project on track, we are confident that this instrument, together with TetraQ's expertise, will support the evolutionary changes that typically arise during the drug development process as we move our product into the clinic,” Dr Dredge said.

TetraQ is the first preclinical contract research organisation in Australia to be equipped with this leading edge technology that provides services to biopharmaceutical industry clients locally and internationally to assist them with their development of a broad range of drug and biological products.

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TetraQ is the first contract research organisation in Australia to provide integrated preclinical services to the global pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Providing a broad range of preclinical services and advice to companies that are in the early stages of drug development, TetraQ can assist in bridging the gap between drug discovery and early stage clinical trials. TetraQ draws on the expertise of four leading specialists in preclinical drug development. Its team of highly experienced scientists is supported by a dedicated Commercial Manager, Operations Manager, Sales & Services Manager and a Quality Assurance Manager.

TetraQ has built world-class facilities to provide its extensive and expanding range of services. This has been enabled by $8.1M in investment funds from the Queensland Government’s Smart State Research Facilities Fund, along with significant cash and in-kind support from The University of Queensland and its supporting partners, Q-Pharm Pty Ltd and The Queensland Institute of Medical Research.

Formed in 2005 and located at The University of Queensland (UQ) in Brisbane, TetraQ is the commercial arm of the Centre for Integrated Preclinical Drug Development. This Centre is the focal point of research and training excellence in the field of preclinical drug development. TetraQ is a registered business of UniQuest Pty Ltd, the main technology transfer company of UQ.
Dean Simonsen
P: +61 7 3346 9933

UniQuest Pty Limited

Established by The University of Queensland in 1984, UniQuest is widely recognised as one of Australia’s largest and most successful university commercialisation groups, benchmarking in the top tier of technology transfer worldwide. From an intellectual property portfolio of 1,500+ patents it has created over 60 companies, and since 2000 UniQuest and its start-ups have raised more than $400 million to take university technologies to market. Annual sales of products using UQ technology and licensed by UniQuest are running at $3 billion. UniQuest now commercialises innovations developed at The University of Queensland and its commercialisation partner institutions: the University of Wollongong, University of Technology Sydney, James Cook University, University of Tasmania, Mater Medical Research Institute, and Queensland Health. UniQuest also provides access to an expansive and exclusive network of independent academics to tailor a consulting or project R&D solution to meet the diverse needs of industry and government, facilitating some 500 consulting, expert opinion, testing, and contract research services each year.

UniQuest is also a leading Australasian provider of international development assistance recognised for excellence in technical leadership, management and research. Working with agencies such as AusAID, NZAID, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, UniQuest has developed and implemented more than 400 projects in 46 countries throughout the Pacific, South-East Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Africa.

Leanne Wyvill
P: +61 7 3365 4037
M: +61 0 409767199


Biotechnology, TetraQ, preclinical research, UniQuest, clinical trials, bioanalysis



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