Founded in the late 1960s, Malvern Instruments is now one of the world's leading materials and biophysical characterization companies. Having built on a long-established reputation for innovation in particle sizing, the company today is highly respected for its technology and applications leadership in areas that range from particle, protein and macromolecule characterization through to rheological properties measurement and into process optimization.
Origins in advancing particle science
In 1970 the introduction of the Malvern correlator delivered a key component in the world's first laser-based particle size analyzer. Since then, numerous innovations in particle size, zeta potential and dispersion technology have helped advance particle science. In 1997, as manufacturing industry increased its focus on process optimization, systems for in-process particle size measurement were introduced. These now include on-line, in-line and at-line analyzers.
Introducing novel techniques
Malvern's range has expanded continuously to include novel techniques for determining particle size and shape in virtually all types of industrial materials. Innovative products for spray characterization have been added, whose applications range from pharmaceutical nebulizers, nasal sprays and inhalers to fuel injection systems, fire protection equipment and agricultural sprays. And supporting an area of intense research and development, Malvern's Zetasizer Nano is the system of choice for characterizing nano-size particles in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and advanced materials.
Adding complementary technologies
The acquisition of Bohlin Instruments in 2003 brought rheology measurement into Malvern's product range. Exploitation of the links between particle size, zeta potential and rheology characteristics now plays an increasing role in product development. Malvern provides instrumentation and expertise in all these areas.
In 2006, Spectral Dimensions Inc. became part of Malvern Instruments, adding chemical imaging to the company's portfolio. This exciting new technology has many applications, especially in understanding and improving pharmaceutical formulation and production.
With the acquisition in 2008 of Viscotek Corporation, Malvern added gel permeation/size exclusion chromatography (GPC/SEC) and expertise to its portfolio. Having widespread application in studying natural and synthetic polymers, the Viscotek products not only extend Malvern's offering but are a natural fit with existing and developing solutions for nano and biomaterials characterization.
A distribution agreement in 2012 with Affinity Biosensors LLC added the Archimedes system to Malvern's solutions for the biopharmaceutical sector. Using the technique of Resonant Mass Measurement (RMM), Archimedes detects and counts particles and determines their mass and size with high resolution and accuracy, in small sample volumes. Measuring protein aggregation in biotherapeutic formulations provides critical information that helps speed development and improve drug safety and efficacy. In 2014 Malvern acquired the Archimedes product designs and IP and a license to the underlying MIT patent for the technology for relevant fields of use, establishing Archimedes as a fully Malvern owned product.
In 2013 the acquisition of NanoSight adds a unique and patented technology Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA) to Malvern's portfolio. NanoSight's instrumentation and software enable the rapid and simultaneous multi-parameter analysis and characterization of many different types of nanoscale particles. With their ability to analyze particle size, concentration, zeta potential and aggregation, NanoSight systems are closely aligned with Malvern’s market-leading Zetasizer range, extending Malvern’s solutions for those working at the nanoscale.
With the acquisition of MicroCal Sytems in 2014, Malvern has added microcalorimetry and label-free analysis technologies and expertise to its portfolio. MicroCal's technologies and measurement solutions are specifically targeted at the early drug development stages. These solutions are applicable to the development of both small and large molecule pharmaceutical products and are entirely complementary to Malvern’s existing portfolio.
Pioneering new initiatives
At the beginning of 2012 Malvern instigated a global Bioscience Development Initiative. This recognizes the unprecedented pace of development in biopharmaceuticals and the onus this places on analytical instrumentation companies to quickly deliver compelling solutions to a host of rapidly evolving analytical and regulatory challenges.
This agile, well-resourced and dedicated program is resulting in close collaborations with biopharmaceutical companies, technology innovators and leading academic institutions. By establishing such mutually beneficial relationships Malvern gains real-time understanding of emerging industry requirements to which it can quickly respond, while the biopharmaceutical sector gets very early access to, and helps shape, the leading edge technology developments it so urgently needs.
Malvern is the recipient of seven Queen's Awards. Now known as the Queen's Awards for Enterprise, these are amongst the UK's most prestigious business prizes. Most recently, in 2006 and again in 2011, Malvern received The Queen's Award for Enterprise in the category of International Trade, in recognition of the company's increased export sales and continued growth worldwide. In 2010, the award was in the category of Innovation, for the continuing development of the market-leading Zetasizer family.
Investment in support
Essential to the continued success of the company is the ability to deliver the best support and service, and Malvern has invested in providing its customer base with new ways of obtaining education, training and support.
In 2001, it was the first particle characterization company to offer seminars and training via live, web-based courses for global audiences. The following year "on demand" e-learning was added, enabling customers worldwide to access Malvern's resources - at any time and from any place. Today, the website's applications library is a valuable and freely available source of information on materials and biophysical characterization. Accessing experience and expertise in this way, ideally complements the support delivered in person by Malvern's local teams.