True high throughput bioanalysis using the Echo® MS System

Rapid sample analysis using AEMS Technology improves bioanalytical study turnaround

Rolf Kern1, Chang Liu2


Echo MS System was used for routine, early stage bioanalytical quantification. Three plasma sample preparation techniques were explored, and showed the feasibility of minimizing sample preparation, minimal differences were observed in lower detection limits for dilution, basic protein precipitation and simply analyzing plasma directly without any treatment at all. This simple sample preparation combined with the speed and simplicity of analysis using the Echo MS System offers an attractive approach for high turnaround bioanalytical laboratories.



Analysis of biological samples to assess the pharmacokinetic (PK) properties of drug candidates is a cornerstone assay that is routinely performed in virtually all pharmaceutical companies. Despite the importance of PK information in drug discovery and development, bioanalytical data is time consuming data to produce. Many individual time points must be analyzed, often from multiple subjects, to generate data for a single compound. When considering the time required to prepare samples, even just using a simple protein precipitation, in addition to 1 to 2 minute individual sample analysis times in the quickest cases, data is generally not available until the day after the bioanalyst begins work on a study.

The SCIEX Echo® MS System, which uses Acoustic Droplet Ejection technology and an Open Port Interface (OPI) coupled to the high-sensitivity SCIEX Triple Quad™ 6500+ System, is capable of dramatically reducing analysis time, as well as reducing the need for sample preparation.1 This allows PK study data to be available the day samples are prepared, giving researchers faster access to this  important data (Figure 1).

Selection of the most appropriate sample preparation method is always a balance of required sensitivity, necessary throughput and the cost of consumables like SPE cartridges. For bioanalytical assays where sensitivity requirements are easily met, faster analysis and simpler sample prep lead to a more efficient overall process. Here, very simple sample preparation techniques were explored in combination with the SCIEX Echo® MS System for rapid generation of routine bioanalysis studies.

Figure 1. Complete pharmacokinetic study in plasma in under 5 minutes. A calibration curve of fentanyl in untreated plasma was generated across 16 different concentrations with 5x replicates at each point in under 5 minutes

Key features of Echo MS System for routine bioanalysis

  • Integral to the Echo MS System is the high-sensitivity SCIEX Triple Quad 6500+ System for meeting sensitivity requirements
  • Good quantification limits were achieved with all three simple sample preparation techniques that were explored, meeting the needs of many routine bioanalysis studies for throughput and cost
  • Very high reproducibility of analysis obtained even out of untreated plasma
  • Exceptional speed and low carryover of Echo MS System combined with simplified sample preparation demonstrated here make this an efficient and fit-for-purpose bioanalysis platform