Nonlinear Dynamics took the opportunity this week at the Peptalk conference in San Diego to assert its new self image as a major corporate force in proteomics. The company released new, updated 2D gel analysis software, served as executive sponsor of the event, and ann-ounced a deal with Shimadzu that Group Sales and Marketing Director John Spreadbury hopes will be the “first of many more.”
The deal with Shimadzu corporate, which builds upon a previously announced distribution deal with Shimadzu Oceania, calls for Shimadzu to distribute parts of Nonlinear’s 1D and 2D analysis suite along with its own 1D and 2D-related products. In addition, Spreadbury said that Nonlinear and Shimadzu would be forming an ongoing partnership and “we are in discussion as to other developments.” He said that the future co-development of software or other products was “a possibility.” He would not comment further but indicated that the partnership would be lengthy and multifaceted.
The software release, which Spreadbury said is part of a yearly update, improves upon Nonlinear’s Phoretix 2D system. The main addition is the Phoretix 2D expression system, which features a new spot detection algorithm that is faster and more accurate — enhancing performance in Phoretix by six times, and in the Progenesis software by 10 times, according to Spreadbury. Spreadbury would not discuss the nature of the algorithm except to say that it “looks at more parameters and memorizes patterns.”
Another new aspect of the software suite is an update to the Phoretix evolution software, which enables it to do cross-stain analysis for multiplexed staining of gels, and to do “queue analysis.” To wit, the researcher sets several analyses to be done in a queue, and the software does them one by one automatically overnight.
Nonlinear’s ambitions, however, go well beyond its new software: Spreadbury confirmed that the company intends to saturate the 2D market and quickly move on to other types of analyses as well, which it hopes to eventually all link together in a single database. “We now have a product for every 2D user in the marketplace,” Spreadbury said. “But we want to develop not just 2D products, but 1D and array products too.”
Spreadbury said that in the “near future” the company would be releasing a product suite that would allow users to apply one interface to analyze data across 1D, 2D, and array experiments, and that it would also “soon launch” mass spec analysis software as well.
Nonlinear Dynamics also plans to launch a new version of existing 1D software sometime this year, and at that point the company would “get the rest of that market,” Spreadbury said. The ultimate goal, he said, would be for Nonlinear to provide one interface and one database for analyzing “all -omics data” — including mass spec, CyDye, MudPIT, and ICAT data, for example, among other techniques —together in one place.
Despite the view held among many proteomics researchers that 2D gels are a dying art, Spreadbury expressed confidence that the market would be strong for many years to come. “Interest in 2D gels is actually increasing,” he said. “It will remain complementary to other techniques that come along.”