Tom Astle (Tomtec; CT, USA) speaks to Alexandra Sklan at Bioanalysis Zone in October 2012 about the variation in the results generated in two recent hematocrit DBS analytical studies. This interview details the implications of DBS analysis, and how, in the future, it will require significant method development to meet requirements defined by regulatory bodies such as the US FDA.
Could you tell Bioanalysis Zone a little about your career to date and how you ended up in engineering bioanalytical applications?
While working for the USI film products in 1967, someone detailed the need to automate serial dilution testing. A creative endeavor of nights and weekends led to the development of Tomtec’s Autotiter. That, in turn, automated serology, from there to minimum inhibitory concentration for antibiotic susceptibility testing, to working with pharmaceutical companies doing soil screening for new compounds. While working with Pfizer in 1988, we developed Harvester™ to support Wallac’s Betaplate, which automated small-molecule high-throughput screening through the 1990s. Anytime there is a paradigm change in current methods, it opens many creative opportunities.