Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Oh HELL no! (update)

Let me just publicly express my fury with Anaspec. They are a peptide reagent company, and sell a number of products to use in peptide synthesis. I have had MANY problems with them over the years, including a $2500 batch of a biotinylated lysine that was sold to us that wouldn't dissolve in the normal solvents and wouldn't couple onto the resin, wasting us thousands of dollars beyond the purchase price of that reagent because of all the failed syntheses and troubleshooting we had to do. Their response? "Our quality control says it's fine, so you must be doing something wrong." Our response? Buy the product from someone else, it dissolves fine and couples beautifully.

Now, these folks recently sold us a bottle of Fmoc-protected phosphotyrosine. My students, at the time still pretty inexperienced in this stuff, tried using it and it wouldn't couple onto their peptides--they kept getting 100% TMG termination where it was supposed to be. TMG termination is what happens when you have an excess of your coupling reagent (when using the uronium salt reagents) over your amino acid. The students say "Well, it looks funny, like it isn't dissolving." I look at their bottle of reagent: IT IS RESIN. Little polymer beads of RESIN. We check it under a microscope: RESIN. Someone at Anaspec dispensed some unknown resin into the bottle that was supposed to contain Fmoc-phosphotyrosine. We take some pictures, get ready to argue.

My student initiates a complaint. They "look into it." They respond that "Our lot is fine." and DO NOT REPLACE THE PRODUCT.

Meanwhile, I am on maternity leave with lots of other things to worry about. I forget about it until today, I ask my student what ever happened about that. He tells me their response. OH HELL NO! You are not getting away with sending us RESIN in place of a material because someone in your company f'ed it up. Sure, your bulk lot of that stuff probably IS fine, because THAT ISN'T WHAT YOU PUT INTO THE BOTTLE. You put something else into the bottle. And whoever did that must be a total moron, because anyone who understands chemicals (especially peptide chemicals) should be able to recognize IMMEDIATELY that the stuff looks more like a polymer bead resin than a white powder. SERIOUSLY, who do you have working there dispensing this stuff?

I am ready to blow a gasket on these people, and they WILL be replacing this with AT LEAST ONE bottle of the actual material. And they will NOT be getting our business again, so help me gawd.

UPDATE: Ah ha, it turns out their QC manager (who managed our initial complaint) left, and the position was vacant for a while. The new guy says he'll replace the stuff right away and hopefully get us the right material this time! They get some points back for how promptly they have responded to me now.

6 comments:

Candid Engineer said...

That is so retarded. What a waste of money, and complete lack of accountability on their part. Hope you get it sorted.

Dr. Zeek said...

Wow, that is unbelievable! Give them hell!

I have been having a similar argument with a major chemical company in that the 100 mg of very expensive ($600 for 100 mg) and very essential chemical that I was supposed to receive was not 100 mg (three times in a row, three different bottle sizes- amounts ranged from 60-70 mg).

I was told and assured that there really was 100 mg in there, that I should trust them, and just use the whole bottle to make my solution rather than weighing anything out. Trust them, they said. Yeah, right.

Micro Dr. O said...

I can't stand costly incompetence, especially when a company refuses to admit their mistakes!!

We have a company that supplies a very expensive enzyme substrate our lab uses. Said company claims the highest purity available for these substrates in the industry, and we pay a pretty penny for it. The latest substrate we got from them was so contaminated that it had to purified, by us, twice before using it in any experiments. Their response - "That is the highest level of purity that can be obtained", which was, of course, complete B.S. Idiots.

Unfortunately, they actually are the "best" out there, which begs the question: how does a grad student get something so pure on his bench top in 2 days time, and these a-holes that are charging gobs of money can't get anywhere close?

biochem belle said...

I have also had issues with Anaspec. I ordered a pretty common peptide that's used as a protease inhibitor. It ended up on backorder. Initially it was to be a couple of weeks. Then they kept "having trouble with the synthesis". It took over 3 months!!! I'm sorry, but if the major thing your company does is synthesize peptides, it should not take you 3 months to get your product in my hands. Moral of these stories: Anaspec sucks!

Parri Pourakbar - AnaSpec, Inc. said...

We take full responsibility for the issue and apologize for dropping the ball during that transition in personnel. A full replacement of your product has been sent.

To biochem belle - I understand your frustration and recognize how important it is for you to have your reagents delivered in a timely fashion. AnaSpec has been synthesizing peptides for over 16 years and is often the one company that our customers turn to when other companies are unable to complete their project. 95% of our peptides are manufactured in 3-4 weeks. Unfortunately, there are some instances where the difficulty of the sequence, the availability of starting material, or (in all honesty) the experience of the chemist can result in delays. Through continuous training, constant innovation in techniques, and improved sourcing, we are daily seeking to streamline our manufacturing processes.

I am always available to help address any issues that may arise, so please feel free to contact me directly by phone or e-mail if there are any other issues that you need addressed.

Again, I apologize for your poor experience with AnaSpec and hope that you will give us the opportunity to provide you with a better one in the future.

Sincerely,

Parri Pourakbar
Customer Support
support@anaspec.com
510-791-9560 x228

Arlenna said...

Wow! Thanks for your comment--I appreciate that you are paying attention to these kinds of things. As I updated in the post, I have been happy with your response to us now that you're in this position at the company. It's good that you have the opportunity to respond in this public forum, too.

It's interesting how the internet creates these places for companies to get customer feedback, and for the companies to reply, as well!