Plasma Plus+ Lab at IUB Pharmacy – The pioneering ISO-Certified Academic Lab in Bangladesh

Chemical Analysis is one of the most essential tenets of Drug discovery and development. Its scope ranges from analyzing the purity of pharmaceutical raw materials, chemical composition of pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and food products to determining the concentration levels of drugs in patient blood to evaluating presence of trace amounts of pharmaceutical substances in the environment and in food products like milk. All these aspects of pharmaceutical and chemical analysis are crucial due to extremely stringent industrial regulation that government all around the globe, has in effect. It is needless to say that these strict governmental regulations are the bastion which assures quality of pharmaceutical and chemical products for human consumption and safeguards public health. 

However, the sets of standards set by the government of different countries vary significantly which is a big hurdle in trading of goods for human consumption. To overcome this challenge, International Organization for Standardization (ISO) was formed in 1947 to bring all countries under the same umbrella of standardization of processes and quality assurance. In a nutshell, ISO ensures that a testing laboratory in New York and another in Dhaka yields the same result, while testing the same sample. This ensures harmonization, which is a key requirement of governments all around the world. This brings us to ISO certification which ensures this, and makes the test result of an ISO certified laboratory acceptable anywhere in the world. 

Understanding the significance of ISO certification for analytical laboratories, the senior management of IUB has partnered with the Chowdhury family to establish Plasma Plus+ Laboratory at IUB Department of Pharmacy, IUB. Plasma Plus+ laboratory at IUB Pharmacy one-of-its-kind analytical academic research in Bangladesh.

IUB Pharmacy has a vision of fostering a meaningful partnership with pharmaceutical companies in Bangladesh and housing and ISO-certified laboratory within the department is the first step towards developing this collaboration. Test results from un-certified/accredited laboratories are almost never accepted to be used commercially for possibly lack of standardization of said results. Therefore, Plasma Plus+ Laboratory enables IUB Pharmacy to provide usable data that pharmaceutical companies can meaningfully use and submit to national and international regulatory body. 

The major instrument in Plasma Plus+ include Liquid-Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy (LC-MS), Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectroscopy (GC-MS), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR), and Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS).

To our knowledge, Plasma Plus is the only analytical lab in Bangladesh with an ISO certification, therefore, getting research contracts, subcontract, grants and forming collaboration with Pharmaceutical companies will be much easier. Academy-industry collaboration will be facilitated, and we expect Pharmaceutical Companies to approach us for new medicine research and for the routine bioequivalence studies of newly launched medicines in the market. These tests are currently conducted abroad at countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong at huge expense. We can capture this segment of the market and perform these routine analyses for these products and can generate revenue for the university. Many foreign grant providers consider the analytical research facilities of the university. Acquisition of these instruments will allow us to receive foreign grants much more easily. Academic collaboration with foreign universities will be further facilitated. We require these instruments to characterize/identify a medicinal compound and most high-quality journals require molecular characterization using these instruments. Discovered molecules can be evaluated for their activity and active molecules can be patented which may form additional source of revenue.

In addition to material testing, Plasma Plus+ Laboratory is capable of providing internationally recognized pharmaceutical analysis training to IUB students, graduates and graduates from other universities. Job market readiness, is a significant shortcoming of Pharmacy graduates in Bangladesh. They receive little to no exposure regarding handling instruments like HPLC, GS-MS, FT-IR in their university, this is partly because very few Bangladeshi universities houses such instruments and somewhat due to the lack of a structured training program in any Bangladeshi university which would prepare interested students in handling these sophisticated instruments. In addition, the training services provide lack adequate recognition due to lack of ISO or other equivalent certification of the laboratory or training personnel.

IUB Plasma Plus+ Laboratory at IUB Pharmacy has the potential to revolutionize Pharmacy education in Bangladesh, foster significant academia-industry collaboration and produce pharmacy graduates with the right skill-sets and competence for the job market and higher studies abroad.