Rocky Mountain Review

A small but significant analytical chemistry conference turns 50

By Paul Thomas, Senior Editor

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Every summer for the last half-century, a small but dedicated group has gathered in the Rockies to commune over analytical chemistry. Whereas initially the focus of the Rocky Mountain Conference on Analytical Chemistry was on mining, oil, and the like, the pharmaceutical component has grown over the past decade or so to become a mainstay of the event. Roughly one-third of the “RMC” is dedicated to pharma, says Robert K. Lantz, PhD, an event organizer for the past few decades. Lantz is also the director of Rocky Mountain Instrumental Laboratories in Fort Collins, Colorado.

This year’s “analytical methods” symposium featured, among other things, tracks devoted to microfluidics and LC/MS (liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry)—the latter kicked off by a keynote address on LC method development by the renowned Virginia Tech professor Dr. Harold McNair.

The conference highlight? McNair’s other keynote, on his “50 Years of Chromatography”. 

Other highlights related to LC/MS:

  • “A Systematic Approach to Reducing Matrix Effects in LC/MS/MS Analyses,” by Dr. Erin Chambers of Waters Corp. (Millford, Mass.) Click here to view a poster summary of the presentation.
  • “Evaluating the Use of Total Organic Carbon (TOC) for Pharmaceutical Cleaning Validation,” by Charles Pacheco of Array BioPharma, Inc. (Boulder, Colo.)

Among other noteworthy presentations, according to Lantz:

  • “Understanding the Road to the IND,” by Dorothy Colagiovanni of biopharma’s Replidyne, Inc. (Louisville, Colo.)
  • “Foreign Particle Size Distribution and Characterization in Pharmaceutical Drug Products, Devices and Formulations Using a High Throughput Electron Beam Analyzer,” by Dr. Marie Vicens of Aspex Corp. (Delmont, Penn.). Click here to view the presentation.

Slowly and steadily, PAT and Quality by Design are influencing the conference, and Lantz expects PAT to be a more significant aspect in years to come. “For all 50 years, we’ve changed the conference as the science has changed,” he says.

Of course, another of the attractive features of the conference is its location—this year in Breckenridge, next year in Estes Park. More on this year’s event and on the 2009 conference, scheduled for late July, can be found at www.rockychem.com.

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