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Biacore and Bruker Daltonics Decide to Sell SPR And Mass Spectrometry Instruments as a Pair

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Bruker Daltonics and Biacore have agreed to jointly develop an instrument system for analyzing proteins that combines surface plasmon resonance (SPR) and mass spectrometry, the companies said last week.

The new platform will offer protocols for integrating the Biacore 3000 SPR instrument with one or more of Bruker’s mass spectrometers, such as the MALDI-TOF or electrospray ion trap instruments, Bruker Daltonics CEO Frank Laukien said.

“The idea initially is that the two companies will be able to sell their two instruments to the one customer with all the explanations, protocols, and preparations they need in between,” said Clive Seymour, vice president and head of the business unit for life science research at Biacore.

Linking the two instruments makes sense, Seymour added, because they provide complementary data on protein function and binding behavior, as well as protein identification, Seymour added. Biacore’s instruments rely on changes in the angle of reflected light to probe the kinetics of binding reactions, affinities, specificities, and also protein concentrations.

Several of Biacore’s customers have already built systems in individual laboratories that combine the two capabilities, including Peter Roepstorff, a researcher in proteomics at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, and scientists at Millennium Pharmaceuticals and Intrinsic Bioprobes.

“They’re spread out around the world, but they’re all leading scientists working in the field so it gave us a good indication that this may well be a combination that was very useful,” said Seymour.

Although the two component instruments are already available commercially, Seymour said linking the two systems requires designing protocols for delivering the sample from the SPR instrument to microtitre plates or into prep columns without losing a large amount of sample. Biacore and Bruker have signed a research and development agreement to investigate ways for optimizing sample recovery from the SPR instrument to allow scientists to more easily identify low abundance proteins, Seymour said.

The two companies have also signed a co-marketing agreement, and plan to begin selling their combined product sometime next year. The Biacore 3000/mass spectrometry system will most likely cost on the order of $500,000, Laukien said.

Biacore chose to work with Bruker Daltonics because of its extensive range of mass spectrometers, and because of its AnchorChip technology, a coating applied to MALDI plates that helps concentrate sample droplets, increasing detection sensitivity, the company said.

— JSM

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