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Applied Biosystems, Bruker Daltonics, Syn X Pharma, Waters and IonSpec


Applied Biosystems Launches New QSTAR XL, Cleavable ICAT Reagents

Applied Biosystems launched a barrage of new products and research partnerships in proteomics over the past week, including a new QSTAR XL mass spectrometer equipped with a new MALDI source, cleavable ICAT reagents, and a research arrangement with the Institute for Systems Biology.

The QSTAR XL has an improved mass range for both MS and MS/MS analyses over the currently available QSTAR mass spectrometers, said Steve Martin, the director of ABI’s Proteomics Research Center in Framingham, Mass. The XL model has a mass range of 6,000 amu for MS/MS analysis, and 40,000 amu for MS analysis, he said. The singly-charged ions produced by MALDI ionization require a greater mass range, Martin added.

According to Julian Whitelegge, a protein mass spectrometrist at the Pasarow Mass Spectrometry Laboratory at the University of California, Los Angeles, the new QSTAR XL also contains hardware for stripping out singly charged ions, which would allow researchers to exclusively target tryptic peptides in protein identification experiments. “[ABI] shows a very nice spectrum of myoglobin [with the new instrument],“ Whitelegge said. Without the hardware for removing singly-charged ions, “you can’t see any protein at all,“ he said. “With their gadget, you can get this beautiful intact protein mass spectrum.“ Whitelegge added that he is considering purchasing the instrument, and plans to visit the MDS Sciex demonstration lab to verify the spectrometer’s performance.

Separately, ABI has launched a new version of the ICAT reagent protocol that provides a new reagent for removing the biotin tag as a last step prior to analysis by liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Proteins tagged with the modified reagent now coelute from the chromatograph, Martin said. In addition, because the modified tags have a lower molecular weight, they no longer fragment in such a way as to disrupt MS/MS analyses, he said. The new 13C-labeled tags weigh about 227 Da, compared to the old deuterium labeled tags that weighed about 500 Da.

ABI also signed a research partnership last week with the Institute for Systems Biology. In return for providing ISB with a discounted Proteomics Analyzer 4700 MALDI-TOF/TOF, ABI will receive access and commercialization rights to new discoveries that arise from Ruedi Aebersold’s lab. Martin declined to specify what technologies ABI may commercialize.


Bruker Daltonics to buy back 1 million shares over next 12 months

Bruker Daltonics said last week that it will begin buying back up to one million shares of its stock over the next year, in a move the Billerica, Mass.-based company attributed to its “significantly undervalued“ stock price. John Hulburt, Bruker’s chief financial officer, said the company has 11.2 million publicly-traded shares, and about 55 million shares outstanding.


Syn X Pharma Signs US Diagnostics Company to Proteomics Research Deal

Syn X Pharma said last week that a “multinational US-based diagnostics company“ had agreed to pay the Toronto-based proteomics company to perform research services. The agreement is built around the discovery of biomarkers for an undisclosed disease, a company spokeswoman said.

In exchange for granting the diagnostics company access to its proteomics platform and rights to intellectual property, Syn X will receive a technology access fee, milestone payments, research fees, and royalties from the sale of any product.

Syn X, which was founded in 1997 as Skye PharmaTech, has built its proteomics capabilities around chromatographic techniques for removing high abundance proteins from serum, followed by 1D and 2D gel separation technologies. To identify the separated proteins, the company uses Thermo Finnigan DECA X-100 electrospray ion trap, SELDI-TOF, and Applied Biosystems MALDI QSTAR mass spectrometers.


Waters and IonSpec to Develop Multi-Quadrupole/Fourier Transform MS

Riding the wave of hybrid mass spectrometry, Waters and Ion Spec have agreed to integrate the Waters Zspray LC-MS interface and quadrupole mass filter technologies with IonSpec’s Fourier transform mass spectrometers, the companies said last week. The combined product will run Waters’ MassLynx software.

When complete, the new instrument will be the first multi-quadrupole/Fourier transform mass spectrometer, the companies said. As such, the instrument should provide a resolution of greater than 500,000, and mass accuracy of 1 ppm, Waters said. The new spectrometer would have a range of options, including API/MALDI ionization, a choice of strength in magnets, and MSn capability. The two companies plan to introduce the new product in the first quarter of 2003.

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