Endress+Hauser has opened a new office and laboratory at Imperial College London’s Translation and Innovation Hub (I-HUB). As well as providing a space for customer demonstrations and sample analysis, the lab will be used for research & development into additional applications for Raman technology.
Raman spectroscopy uses a laser light source to analyse the different properties of a molecule. It has many applications in life sciences, chemical and oil & gas applications, for example measuring the concentration of an active pharmaceutical ingredient in a tablet or quantifying the strength of plastic packaging materials. It has gained momentum during the Covid-19 pandemic, being used in vaccine and drug manufacturing.
The aim of the I-HUB space is to build on the existing capabilities of Raman technology and find new applications for it. Endress+Hauser is sponsoring a PhD student, in collaboration with Professor Paul Freemont of Imperial College, to explore how Raman can be used for gene editing and synthetic biology projects.
“We know we can use Raman in bioprocesses, and we want to know what else we can do with it,” explains Process Analytics Sales Engineer Kevin Fernandes. “What manipulations can be made with gene sequences, for example, to develop and produce more novel products, and are they measurable by Raman?”
The I-HUB, hosted by Imperial College London, houses both startups and established industry leaders. With impressive laboratory and office space, the facility supports scientific research by providing a home for businesses from around the globe to work directly alongside Imperial’s world-leading academics. Through this co-location model, businesses, entrepreneurs and world-class researchers can share ideas and turn scientific and technological discoveries into new products and services.
Bringing research into the process
Joint biopharmaceutical projects are also planned with I-HUB neighbour Analytik Jena, an Endress+Hauser subsidiary that was instrumental in the automation of PCR testing to detect the coronavirus. The sister company is in the early stages of looking at gene expression for applications such as the production of synthetic meat.
Endress+Hauser’s Rxn2 analyser will be available for feasibility studies, meaning samples from companies based in the UK will no longer have to be sent to the Endress+Hauser Support Centre for Analysis in Lyon. “If customers are looking for a technique to characterise their process, we’re happy for them to come and run samples on the system to see if their compounds are amenable to Raman,” says Kevin Fernandes. “They could save time and money by incorporating this technology into their process instead of having to take a sample to the lab.”