By FRANK VINLUAN, MedCity News

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – The pharmaceutical quality-control devices developed by Mustard Tree Instruments are poised to branch out overseas.

Mustard Tree, whose drug analyzers are used by pharmaceutical companies and contract drug manufacturers in the United States, is close to a deal with a European partner to distribute the company’s products.

“We will announce officially after the paperwork is signed,” CEO Todd Blonshine said.

In the meantime, the RTP company has opened a fundraising round targeting $1 million. Filings show the company has raised just over $340,000 so far. Blonshine said that the additional capital will be used to fund operations and expand sales and marketing.

Mustard Tree has developed devices that analyze and verify pharmaceuticals, as explained in this MedCity News profile story on the company. Older methods of analyzing drugs to test for quality consume the drug in the test and take time to get lab results. But Mustard Tree’s devices analyze chemicals using a technology called Raman spectroscopy. Because the technology analyzes the scattering effect of light, it doesn’t consume the drug being tested. The technique can also be done at the production line, which makes it faster than traditional lab testing.

Mustard Tree developed its analyzers as a means of quality control, but the company says their use can also help alleviate drug shortages. By easing some of the quality control bottlenecks at manufacturing sites, manufacturing and shipping delays can be averted before products enter the supply chain.

Mustard Tree can’t disclose companies using its technology due to confidentiality agreements.