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Agilent, Waters Among Mass Spec Vendors to Launch New Instruments at ASMS Next Week

Agilent and Waters are among the BCW Index companies scheduled to introduce new products at the American Society for Mass Spectrometry conference, to be held on May 28 - June 1 in Seattle.

Many of the mass spectrometer manufacturers are being tight-lipped about what instruments they will unveil next week, but Waters, Agilent, Bruker BioSciences, Applied Biosystems, and Thermo Electron are all expected to launch new products.

The ASMS conference comes only a few months after Pittcon 2006, during which several of these rivals launched new mass spec, liquid chromatography, or combination LC/MS systems. These two conferences offer a crucial opportunity for vendors to demonstrate their new mass spec instruments and frequently have an impact on sales for the rest of the year.

Agilent will launch three new instruments and a new software platform at the meeting next week, according to a company spokesperson. The firm is not disclosing details for those instruments or the software platform before the conference.

Many of the mass spectrometer manufacturers are being tight-lipped about what instruments they will unveil next week, but Waters, Agilent, Bruker BioSciences, Applied Biosystems, and Thermo Electron are all expected to launch new products.

However, company officials said they would talk about the "major roadblocks in proteomics research" during their press conference at ASMS, and present ways that they have tried to address those roadblocks through separation technologies, sensitive mass specs — such as the 6510 Q-TOF — and proteomics software, including the MassHunter Workstation, SpectrumMill, and GeneSpring MS.

At Pittcon 2006, held in Orlando, Fla., in March, Agilent introduced the 6410 Triple Quadrupole LC/MS system, the 6340 Ion Trap LC/MS system, the MassHunter Workstation software, and Intelligent Services support program. During that conference, Chris van Ingen, head of Agilent's Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis business, told BioCommerce Week that a MALDI-TOF mass spec is the only piece missing from the firm's LC/MS platform right now (see BioCommerce Week 3/15/2006).

Waters also will launch new instruments at the meeting, but a company spokesperson told BioCommerce Week that the firm would not disclose any details until the meeting begins.

However, Waters said that it will demonstrate the new version of its LCT Premier time-of-flight bench-top mass spectrometer, called the LCT Premier XE, which includes the company's patented LockSpray technology for exact mass measurement, and a new wizard-driven instrument setup protocol. The new product was officially launched at Pittcon this year.

The original version of the LCT Premier was launched during the 2003 ASMS conference in Montreal. It is designed for routine applications in natural product identification, drug metabolism, impurity analysis, compound screening, and intact protein analysis.

According to Waters' website, the new LCT Premier XE offers an enhanced resolution of 15,000 FWHM over 30,000 m/z, a rapid spectral acquisition rate, and a wide dynamic range, making it "ideal" for qualitative applications.

The firm also is sure to be demonstrating its Acquity SQD system, which it introduced at Pittcon. The system consists of Waters' Acquity UPLC and the new SQ detector, a single-quad atmospheric pressure ionization mass detector.

Other major mass spec players in the BCW Index, including Thermo Electron, Bruker, and ABI, also preferred to keep their new products under wraps until they make their debut at the ASMS conference.

Knoxville, Tenn.-based Protein Discovery will make its inaugural appearance at this year's ASMS. The firm will preview its MALDIplex M5 Sample Prep Station — a new system for preparing 96 MALDI-ready protein samples from serum in less than one hour. In addition, the company said representatives will showcase the firm's new robotic MALDI matrix sprayer, which was developed in partnership with LEAP Technologies, and the PPS Silent Surfactant, an acid-cleavable detergent for cell membrane disruption and protein solubilization.

Other proteomics products to be showcased at ASMS include Sigma-Aldrich's ProteoPrep 20 Kit, launched in January, which removes 99 percent of 20 high-abundant plasma proteins, and new systems biology-focused products by bioinformatics company GenoLogics.

Shimadzu to Launch New MALDI-TOF System

Shimadzu, a rival to the mass spec vendors in the Index, will unveil its new AXIMA-TOF2 system at the meeting. The new instrument has an improved curved field reflectron technology, which is used to deliver high-energy collision-induced dissociation (CID) data without the need for post-acceleration, according to Emmanuel Raptakis, product manager for MALDI-TOF instruments at Shimadzu.

The improved CFR technology "translates to higher sensitivity," he told BioCommerce Week sister publication ProteoMonitor last week. "We extract the [ion] beam completely, and the energy is maintained throughout the time-of-flight ion path. We make sure you don't lose any ions on the ion path. The higher transmission leads to higher real-time sensitivity."

CFR technology was originated by Shimadzu's wholly owned subsidiary Kratos Analytical about eight years ago, said Raptakis. Shimadzu's predecessor AXIMA-CFR and MALDI AXIMA CFR Plus instruments also use CFR technology, but with the new AXIMA-TOF2, the shape of the field has been improved so that quality is improved in the low-mass ion range, he said.

"This definitely outperforms the CFR Plus in terms of the results it can provide," said Raptakis. "It delivers really high energy CID, which gives you more information for proteomic samples."

In terms of throughput, Raptakis said the AXIMA-TOF2 is fast enough for researchers who want to analyze up to a few hundred samples per day, but "is not designed for ultra-high throughput."

Beta testers of the AXIMA-TOF2 include research groups at the University of Vienna, the Technical University of Vienna, a group in Heidelberg, Germany, and several groups in Japan, Raptakis said.

Raptakis declined to give a price for the new AXIMA-TOF2, but said that it is more expensive than the AXIMA CFR Plus. The instrument is currently available for order.

— Edward Winnick ([email protected])
and Tien-Shun Lee ([email protected])

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