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Latest Trends in Animal Health Testing

According to P&S Intelligence, the global animal pharmaceuticals market is set to grow at a compound annual rate of 6.8 percent between 2021 and 2030, reaching a size of $72.74 billion by the end of the decade. As the market has grown in size and importance – due mainly to increasing consumption of meat and animal products, a booming pet industry and growing incidences of zoonotic diseases – so too have regulatory frameworks and testing techniques. Here Beccy Bell, Operations Manager at Contract Research Organization Broughton, discusses what’s on the horizon for the testing of animal health products.

To perform detailed testing of animal health products, many businesses are shifting to using more advanced analytical equipment, and it is becoming common to commission independent testing, rather than complete it in-house. Often, manufacturers will turn to third-party partners for both technical and regulatory support, to streamline the process of bringing animal health products to market, as well as obtain the data needed to ensure safety.

The Shifting Analytical Environment

In process and finished product testing are how we ensure that products are safe, contain what they’re supposed to and meet the requirements of the specification. In recent years, a need for greater sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy in the analysis of animal drug products has led to the use of increasingly advanced techniques.

Thin layer chromatography (TLC) is a relatively simple and low-cost technique that can quickly identify the presence of certain compounds in a sample. Previously, TLC was a predominant method used for testing animal drug product quality, but today we are seeing a shift towards more advanced techniques, such as high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). This follows a similar trend in human pharmaceuticals, where HPLC is a popular analytical technique in both academic and industrial environments.

The predominant shift from TLC to HPLC can be seen in the testing of related substances. Unlike TLC, which only reports whether the concentration of related substances and impurities is below a given value, HPLC allows for the exact quantification of pharmaceutical ingredients and offers a broad range of detector options. This makes testing more accurate and flexible – important factors when ensuring drug products meet specifications.

Gas chromatography (GC) is another powerful analytical technique that has entered the veterinary testing fray in recent years. GC separates and analyses the components of a sample by vaporising it and passing it through a column filled with a stationary phase (such as a polymer or silica gel) and a carrier gas (such as nitrogen or helium). The components of the sample interact differently with the stationary phase, causing them to be separated as they move through the column. GC is frequently used to analyse volatile compounds, such as residual solvents and impurities in pharmaceutical products.