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PerkinElmer to Challenge ABI With Mass Tagging Tech


In an ongoing effort to expand its capabilities in proteomics and build on last year’s launch of its BioXpression biomarker system, PerkinElmer has acquired Agilix’s i-PROT protein-labeling technology.

The acquisition is part of the firm’s previously stated plans to enhance its biomarker discovery capabilities and further develop its proteomics-based diagnostics. PerkinElmer also hopes the technology will provide a stiff challenge to Applied Biosystems’ ICAT mass tagging technology and help the firm reach a wider customer base.

Mary Duseau, director of biopharmaceutical sales for PerkinElmer, said in March that the firm expects to launch i-PROT in “six months plus.” According to Duseau, the acquisition “rounds out the proteomics toolbox” and will “bring proteomics to the masses,” or in other words, a potentially wider range of customers in the drug discovery field. The i-PROT technology will compete primarily with ABI’s ICAT technology, Duseau said. However, she claimed i-PROT allows for much higher plexing.

As for ABI, the company has a partnership with Invitrogen under which the companies will jointly sell ABI’s iTRAQ and ICAT protein- and peptide-labeling reagents and Invitrogen’s new SILAC metabolomic labeling technology. ABI will also support Invitrogen’s SILAC technology with software on its TOF/TOF mass spectrometers and plans to extend software support to other mass spec types.

Agilix’s i-PROT technology uses isobaric mass tags to simultaneously quantify proteins from multiple samples in one mixture. The technology enables quantitative comparison between proteins expressed in a number of different conditions, for example at six or seven different time points.

Experiments using i-PROT are done in much the same way as those using ABI’s ICAT.  “There’s nothing different about the labeling step or the sample preparation, or the reduction of mixture complexity,” says Agilix CEO Martin Mattessich. “You’re just doing what you’re doing, but instead of doing it serially in many different batches, you just throw it all together.”

— Ed Winnick and Tien-Shun Lee

Short Reads

Waters will integrate its Acquity Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography system with mass spectrometers made by Thermo Electron and Bruker Daltonics. As part of the deal, the firms will soon release a software application that allows the instruments to be easily integrated.

In other company news, Waters announced plans to lay off about 70 employees and close an office in the Netherlands in a bid to cut costs in the US and Europe.

Pall opened a Center of Excellence in Bangalore, India, that will include a process proteomics lab for chromatography and downstream systems, including validation services for FDA approval.

NIH gave a phase I SBIR grant to Protein Discovery to help the company develop a fractionation system that prepares human serum for high-throughput mass-spectrometry analysis.

ActivX renewed an agreement with Pfizer to apply its chemical technologies and high-throughput protein analysis to a number of the pharma’s programs spanning drug discovery, polemic profiling, compound selectivity and biological activity, and mechanisms of toxicity.

Compugen is leading an international consortium to develop a platform that will simulate the MAP-kinase pathway. The European Commission is funding the consortium with €3.1 million over three years.


US Patent 7,015,465. Parallel concentration, desalting, and deposition onto MALDI targets. Inventors: Robert Karol, Jeffrey Finch, and Daniel Wall. Assignee: Waters Investments. Issued: March 21, 2006.

This patent covers a technique “for the continuous deposition of RP HPLC eluent, from isocratic or gradient elutions, on to a MALDI target using a parallel sample desalting method, [which] allows increased sensitivity of the MALDI sample by pre-concentration of the analyte, separation of interfering contaminants from the analyte, and increased dynamic range of peptide abundance that can be analyzed.”

US Patent 7,015,463. Miniaturized sample scanning mass analyzer. Inventors: Robert Cotter, Robert English, and Benjamin Gardner. Assignee: Johns Hopkins University. Issued: March 21, 2006.

According to the abstract, this covers “a mass spectrometer that includes an ionizing source, a sample holder arranged in a beam path of the ionizing source, [and] an ion detector disposed to receive ions extracted from a sample when held by the sample holder and irradiated by the ionizing source.”



Investment that Proteopure, a Carnegie Mellon University spinout, received from the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse partnership. Proteopure is developing 2DE prep kits using spin columns to bind and isolate proteins.


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