For medicinal chemists, maximizing the synthetic yield of their newly created intermediate compound is their priority. More times than not, flash chromatography is used to purify these intermediate compounds to at least 80% purity. Final compounds, however, not only require high yield but maximum attainable purity, typically in excess of 95%. For this purity level, chemists will either send the reaction mixture to an in-house prep HPLC lab or perform their own preparative HPLC compound purification, if it is available in the lab.
This, of course, is always one of the first questions an organic, medicinal, or peptide chemist has when starting the research process for a flash chromatography system. Here at Biotage, we receive this question hundreds and hundreds of times a year, likely within the first couple of minutes of any conversation.
The newly released Biotage® Selekt flash chromatography instrument can be run at a maximum flow-rate of 300 mL/min or a maximum pressure of 30 bar. These high flowrates and pressures enable a user to perform chromatography using not only dry-packed, single-use plastic flash columns containing small (≥20 μm) spherical silica particles, but also semi-preparative, slurry-packed
HPLC columns for multiple use with smaller (≤20 μm) spherical silica particles.
This question is one that is increasing in frequency. Over the past 10 or so years reversed-phase flash chromatography use has increased dramatically. Likewise, reversed-phase preparative HPLC (RP pHPLC) use has also increased. Chemists need to know when to choose between the speed and low solvent use of flash column chromatography and the ultimate purification of RP pHPLC. With this as the backdrop, let me give you my thoughts on how to choose between flash chromatography and when it is best to use RP pHPLC.