journalThis diary belongs to Tom, I’m married with two small children aged 5 and 7 and work in the QA/QC department of a medium-sized pharmaceutical company in the UK. This year, I’ve decided to keep a diary this year so I can look back at the end of the year and see some of the good and bad things that have occurred and any patterns to improve in 2021.

Monday 2nd March

I’m looking forward to this week. The last couple of weeks have passed without many mishaps at works; only one or two niggles with the HPLC. So, with lots of hard work and a few longer days I was able to meet the required sample throughput. I had a good performance appraisal with Theresa and she has agreed to give me more responsibility and projects to help develop my career. Great drive to work as the days are getting longer and it finally feels like Spring is just around the corner (and that means less time spent putting on and taking off the children’s wellington boots!). I had just started my first sequence of the day when Theresa called me into her office where she subsequently informed me that we had a new HPLC instrument arriving tomorrow. She said she was growing increasingly concerned that we were falling behind in throughput due to breakdowns and maintenance issues and paying overtime to catch up was eating into the budget (not to mention getting me in trouble at home as well!). The new instrument apparently is more reliable and lower maintenance, but different than what we are currently using. As I asked for more responsibility, Theresa told me that my job this week is to get the new system operational and the current method transferred. Going forward I would also be responsible for training the rest of the group on the new platform. Split the rest of the day between running sequences and brushing up on method transfer.

Tuesday 3rd March

Only had to hit the snooze button once on the alarm today. Not sure whether that was nervousness or excitement at what lay ahead today. In my seven years at Tulip Pharmaceuticals I had never experienced a ‘new’ HPLC –  obviously we had new instruments, but they were the same model as we had bought before and this promised to be something different altogether. Dropped the kids at pre-school club and got to work quickly, quite excited now about my new toy. Cleared a bit of bench space and created anticipation in my colleagues for the new arrival. It arrived just after morning coffee, it was a Thermo Scientific™ Vanquish™ Core HPLC system. Never used a Thermo Scientific HPLC before (didn’t know they even made them!), but it certainly looked the part. It had this really cool display screen so I could view the operation of all the modules, solvent levels and it also had maintenance videos installed. It was easy to assemble and I was surprised at how quickly we could get the system operating, IQ/OQ performed, and fully calibrated and validated. I wasn’t expecting to look at transferring methods until at least Thursday but can start tomorrow now. Left the system on when I went home as wanted people to see the rather funky status lights on the modules! Went home pretty pleased with myself; didn’t last all night though as got a spectacular astro burn on my elbow at five-a-side football later.

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Wednesday 4th March

Got to work early as I was expecting quite a long day to begin the process of transferring the method over and also had to get familiar with operating the system. Thankfully it can be operated by our existing Thermo Scientific™ Chromeleon™ CDS software so this made things much simpler (doh, should have put these two together in my head before…). I have to say I had a very pleasant surprise today in that the method transfer was really, really easy to accomplish. System was intuitive to operate and there was a very helpful technical note to guide me through the method transfer process from my original system and lots of features within the system to fine-tune the transfer. Method was successfully transferred and validated by the end of the day. I think Theresa was a little shocked when I told her on the way out that everything was completed, and I would be able to start putting it through its paces tomorrow.

Thursday 5th March

A very good day today! The new HPLC ran like a dream. No problems (the solvent monitor is great, no danger of running out of buffer now) and the extra capacity in the autosampler allowed me to really motor through the samples today. I even had time to start preparing the training for the rest of the team on the Vanquish Core as I had completed all my sequences by 15.30. Theresa was very happy as the audit today passed without a single issue and she was really pleased with the sample throughput. Was even home on time to cook my specialty spaghetti bolognaise for the family.

Friday 6th March

Theresa must have been pleased yesterday (or relieved!) as she brought in cakes for the team this morning. Quite a serene day really today, again the new Vanquish Core worked like a dream, just merrily churning through samples whilst I got on with preparing training for the rest of the team. Others are now starting to come up to the machine to have a closer look and impatient to have a go. Got some good comments from Theresa in the afternoon, she has been impressed as to how quickly I have got the HPLC installed, validated, method transferred and operational. Went home happy, take away curry for the wife and me as a reward.

Additional Resources

  • To find out more about the Vanquish Core, application notes and product information, please visit the
  • Download a copy of the Vanquish Core brochure