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AB Sciex, Thermo Fisher Scientific Enter Separate Deals to Study Disease, Develop Workflows

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This story originally ran on April 22.

AB Sciex and Thermo Fisher Scientific this week separately announced collaborations to expand research into disease areas such as cancer and develop workflows for clinical proteomics.

AB Sciex said it is working with the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto on a project that will use a new mass spectrometry platform being developed by the company. The focus of the proteomics project is to improve understanding of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

The research is being led by Tony Pawson, who is analyzing complex protein-protein interactions and modifications in the pathways and processes of communications between cells.

AB Sciex has said little about the new platform, but at Pittcon in February, company officials whetted the appetites of participants at a press conference by calling it a "groundbreaking" system that allows both qualitative and quantitative analysis at high resolution and high sensitivity with accurate mass.

The system is already being used by Gerard Hopfgartner at the University of Geneva's Mass Spectrometry Centre for small-molecule drug research.

In a statement this week, Pawson called the new technology a "significant leap forward in mass spectrometry tools for biomedical analysis, enabling us to better understand highly complex medical conditions and improve the quality of information emerging in the field of cell biology. This could lead to better ways to treat diseases in the future.”

AB Sciex said the collaboration will result in new workflows and applications that will be made available to the scientific community when the platform is launched. While the firm has been mum about when that will be, Larry Culp, the CEO of Danaher, the parent firm of AB Sciex, said this week "we'll have some news next month" at the American Society for Mass Spectrometry conference.

Also this week, Thermo Fisher announced it is partnering with Bruno Domon, director of the Luxembourg Clinical Proteomics unit, to develop workflows aimed at overcoming bottlenecks in biomarker discovery and assay development for clinical proteomics research.

The unit is housed in the Public Research Centre for Health, or CRP-Santé.

Domon will be using Thermo Fisher's LTQ Orbitrap Velos equipped with electron transfer dissociation, which was launched at last year's ASMS, with the goal of creating a second-generation biomarker discovery and validation workflow.

The work will also entail use of Thermo Fisher's TSQ Vantage triple-quadrupole mass spec for targeted protein quantification, and the company's Pinpoint software to develop assays, it said in a statement.

Thermo Fisher's Exactive benchtop LC-MS mass spec, which uses the Orbitrap technology, will also be used for biomarker profiling analyses.

According to Ian Jardine, vice president of global R&D for Thermo Fisher, the partnership is a "unique opportunity for the company to expand its role in the development of cutting-edge biomarker research tools and consolidate its presence within the EU."

The company and Domon have been collaborating since 2007 and together they developed the intelligent Selected Reaction Monitoring technology that is now incorporated into Thermo Fisher's TSQ mass specs. Domon was also a primary scientific contributor to the Pinpoint software, the company said.

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