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Bruker Takes Equity Stake, Sells 51 Mass Spec Machines to GeneProt

NEW YORK,   Sept 12 - Bruker Daltonics (Nasdaq: BDAL) of Billerica, Mass., said Tuesday it would sell 51 mass spectrometry machines to Geneva Proteomics as well as take an equity stake in the Swiss company.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The alliance signals that competition in the proteomics sector is heating up. Celera Genomics (NYSE: CRA), which like Geneva Proteomics has said it plans to become the leader in industrialized proteomics, previously announced it would use mass spec machines from Applied Biosystems.

GeneProt, as it is known, bought 51 MALDI-TOF and ion trap mass spectrometers and made Bruker the exclusive provider of mass spec equipment to the company’s Geneva proteomics factory that is under construction.

Specifically, GeneProt will use 6 REFLEX III MALDI-TOF systems, including Bruker Daltonics' eight-channel sample prep robots and ultra-high sensitivity AnchorChips for high throughput protein identification assays.

In addition, the company will install 44 Esquire3000 ion trap mass spectrometers for multistage mass spectrometry assays to capture protein sequences and post-translational modifications, and one further Esquire3000 machine to characterize GeneProt's synthetic proteins.

Cedric Loiret-Bernal, GeneProt's CEO, said, “Having carefully analyzed our options, we have concluded that Bruker Daltonics provides the best available technology for automated, sensitive proteomics by mass spectrometry in an industrial setting.”

Loiret-Bernal added that GeneProt anticipates using the funds from Bruker and other investors to complete the Geneva facility. The company raised $40 million in venture capital earlier this year.

As part of the collaboration, the two companies will cooperate on research and development in proteomics, and will share certain proteomics intellectual property and technology.

Previously there had been some speculation that GeneProt and Celera might form a partnership to tackle proteomics together.

That was in part due the exclusive license that Celera’s sister company, Applied Biosystems, holds to develop a molecular scanner based on work done by Denis Hochstrasser, a GeneProt founder. A molecular scanner is a technology for ramping up proteomics research.

The deal between Bruker and GeneProt seems to indicate that the two have decided to go it alone.

Bruker Daltonics is a developer and provider of life science tools based on mass spectrometry.

GeneProt’s goal is to generate and commercialize proteomic and related biological and medical information to facilitate the understanding of biological processes, and to assist pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

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