How we started
Before the company was created, starting late 2013 and thereafter, the analytical testing of various bodybuilding supplements was conducted free of charge for the benefit of the community. After various commercial manufacturers of supplements and pharmaceuticals, such as Phalanx Laboratories, have expressed interest in commercial service, the foundation of the company was laid.
While the service was non-profit, facilities of various universities in Czech Republic were used for running the tests - this was only possible due to the non-commercial nature of the business and had let us acquire extensive knowledge of the compounds tested and gather large amounts of data that could be further used in our analytical endeavours.
As we established ourselves, we had to make a hard choice in what equiment was to be purchased - a great investment indebting the company for many years to come. Due to the versatility, speed and ease of maintenance HPLC was chosen as the workhorse of the laboratory. Auditions were held with representatives of various companies, such as HPST, s.r.o. (representative of Agilent), ECOM spol. s r.o. and Shimadzu. Before the choice was made and financing secured, we were able to make use of second-hand purchased Gilson HPLC, which we were able to maintain and keep working only thanks to the help and expertise of Prague based company Watrex.
How we expanded
After the negotiations with various equipment suppliers we had chosen the Shimadzu Prominence UFLC system, which proved to be a rugged companion and had been running without a problem ever since we had turned it on the first time. With a new modern instrument we were spared the trouble associated with 20 years old Gilson system and we could manage to provide higher quality data at a throughput we had not imagined before.
Sticking to the routine tasks we were able to handle dozens of samples a day and still had the time to focus on improving the standard operating procedures. Thanks to the time saved by optimization of the workflow we were able to accept new customers and handle their sometimes exotic requirements. Influx of new customers and publicity associated with that had us always improving the quality of the data to avoid losing the trust of the customers, as we had always relied on a word of mouth as a sole marketing strategy.
With a motto "No more guessing" we helped to educate our customers and general public about the possibilities of analytical chemistry, especially when related to testing products intended for use by end users. Many blind samples were sent to us as a way to ensure our consisency and quality of the results and in the end we were able to gain a general trust in the communities we focused on. This led to customers pressuring the manufacturers of the products they were using into developing a consistent quality assesment strategies involving us.
Having implemented GLP we had been considering purchasing an additional HPLC, so we could increase the throughput even more to accommodate the new customers. With a redundant HPLC we would never have to worry about unexpected maintenance again. After long considerations the investment was made and a cream of the crop UHPLC, Shimadzu Nexera-i LC-2040C 3D, was purchased.
In year 2018 we've continued our long and fruitful cooperation with Shimadzu corporation by purchasing an ELSD-LTII evaporative light scattering detector. We believe that with this purchase we will be able to provide a wider range of services and improve the services we've been offering so far. Evaporative light scattering detectors are universal detectors capable of detecting any compound but the most volatile. The great upside of this kind of detection is the linear relationship between the response of the detector and the mass of the sample - that allows us to make very accurate estimations even about totally unknown samples or impurities contained in them.
To be continued...