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Lopez Joins PerkinElmer After Proteome Systems Consolidates R&D Efforts in Sydney

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In its quest to be taken seriously in the field of proteomics, PerkinElmer has acquired Packard Biosciences, partnered with Genomic Solutions (now being acquired by Harvard Biosciences), and begun developing a MALDI-TOF mass spectrometer with the help of MDS Sciex. Now the former EG&G, which won the rights to PerkinElmer’s name when it acquired the old PerkinElmer’s analytical instrument business in 1999, is turning to veteran proteomics researcher Mary Lopez.

Lopez, the former executive vice president for US R&D at Proteome Systems, joined PerkinElmer earlier this month as director of biochemistry, putting her in charge of 30 employees in the molecular biology and protein science R&D groups in Boston. In her new role, Lopez is responsible for developing kits and consumables, directing the company’s research collaborations with academic researchers, and helping to raise the visibility of PerkinElmer’s expansion into the proteomics market.

“PerkinElmer isn’t synonymous with proteomics because we do so many things in so many areas,” she said. “Part of my role here is to make people realize that we do have a tremendously comprehensive solution.”

In her previous position with Proteome Systems, Lopez managed several of the company’s research collaborations, including a study of mitochondrial proteins with the Buck Institute for Age Research. Lopez said she plans to develop similar relationships at PerkinElmer with other academic partners — if not with the Buck Institute itself, she said.

Lopez’s departure from Proteome Systems coincided with the company’s move to consolidate its R&D activities at its Sydney, Australia, headquarters. According to Ben Herbert, the company’s executive vice president and head of array technology, bringing all of Proteome Systems’ R&D efforts under one roof was necessary to ameliorate management of the company’s various collaborations, and that its Boston-based facility didn’t have the necessary infrastructure for discovery research. “Sydney is quite isolated,” Lopez said of her decision to stay in the Boston area.

Lopez said at heart she’s a “techie” who loves to play with new toys, and her new position will allow her to access the resources and technological expertise that come along with working for a billion dollar company.

Looking into the future, Lopez said she hopes to help PerkinElmer direct its resources towards refining existing proteomics technology, such as developing prefractionation kits for 2D gels, and multidimensional chromatography approaches to protein separation.

But Lopez added her first goal is to help demonstrate the capabilities in proteomics that PerkinElmer is currently bringing to market. The company’s MALDI-TOF mass spectrometer, developed in collaboration with MDS Sciex, is now in beta testing and has a planned launch of April 2003, she said. In addition, PerkinElmer’s Packard Bioscience division has developed protein array spotters and workstations for sample washing and detection, and has the rights to distribute Genomic Solutions’ 2D gel electrophoresis platform outside the US and Japan. PerkinElmer has also developed its own line of cell imaging instruments and proprietary dyes, and distributes imaging software developed by Nonlinear Dynamics.

— JSM

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