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Bruker Rounds Up Changes at Open House Meeting and Jumps onto Biomarker Train

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Two weeks after Bruker Daltonics and Bruker AXS officially merged, the new company — Bruker BioSciences — presented itself to investors and analysts at its headquarters in Billerica, Mass. last week

For employees and customers, changes may be subtle: According to CEO Frank Laukien, the two operating companies, Daltonics and AXS, will be the “two engines that pull the train” of Bruker BioSciences, the holding company. Both will retain their separate research and production facilities and sales forces, but hope to boost revenues by cross-selling to each other’s customers and pooling their international distribution networks. Also, the company expects to save $1.2 to 1.5 million per year by eliminating redundant costs, such as separate boards, public filings, audits, and insurance (see PM 4-14-03).

But Bruker is also venturing into new directions, by jumping onto a protein biomarker discovery train that appears to be dominated by Ciphergen at the moment. “We already have two biomarker discovery centers,” said Laukien — one in Leipzig, Germany, and another one in the US that is “nearly finished.”

Last month, the company also launched a product package for biomarker discovery called ClinProt, which includes magnetic beads for protein separation, a MALDI-TOF or MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometer, and software for pattern discovery. According to Laukien, this platform — which Daltonics has already sold to several beta-sites — not only allows users to discover protein fingerprints in clinical samples, but also to identify the peaks in these patterns. “Fingerprints are fascinating, but after a while you would like to know ‘what’s that finger’,” Laukien said.

Moreover, he claimed that Bruker’s liquid-based bead technology allows for easy automation, good reproducibility, and low analysis costs, compared to surface-based approaches (such as Ciphergen’s).

Mass spectrometry, he said, “is bound to have a very bright future in molecular diagnostics, not only in the next few years of research, but longer-term,” and funding opportunities are abundant. “We think we are going to be a very significant player in this fast-growing market,” he said. “It’s going to be competitive, but that’s fine.”

— JK

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