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PerkinElmer Enters Peptidomics Field With New Kit for Cellular Protein Expression

This article has been updated from a previous version to correct two errors. The kit enables immunoaffinity purification, not "amino affinity" purification as originally reported. In addition, the Immuno-catch enables target proteins, not antibodies, to be released from the surface.
PerkinElmer two weeks ago entered the nascent field of peptidomics by launching a reagent kit that enables immunoaffinity purification.
The Immuno-catch kit is a high-throughput multiplex immunocapture or co-immunoprecipitation platform that uses streptavidin-coated plates, and allows researchers to more quickly and easily reduce biological sample complexity, according to PerkinElmer.
The Immuno-catch kit can be used to immunoprecipitate samples such as cell lysates, cell culture supernatants, serum and other body fluids, and other protein samples.
According to the kit’s manual, eluted samples are compatible with downstream sample analysis and detection using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, Western blot, and mass spectrometry.
“It enables flexible customization of immunocapture experiments using customer-provided biotinylated antibodies and biological samples,” the manual said. “Two basic protocols using solid-phase or liquid phase immunocapture procedures allow simultaneous processing of multiple biological samples using the high-throughput 96-well format.”
The kit is part of a suite of affinity tools initially introduced late last year that represents PerkinElmer’s virgin launch in the peptidomics space, one of the newest members in the ever-expanding family of omics research.
If proteomics is still in its pre-teen stage as a research discipline, peptidomics, sometimes called “fragmentomics,” can be characterized as approaching its toddler stage.
While reams of biomarker research have been done with proteomics methods, the amount of peptide biomarker research is comparatively scant, though there is growing interest in the area.
For instance, earlier this year, Digilab Biovision, based in Hannover, Germany, said it had found 30 peptide biomarkers it claims can be used as a diagnostic for Alzheimer’s disease. One of the biomarkers won a Notice of Allowance from the US Patent and Trademark Office [See PM 01/25/07].
The idea is that by using peptidomics methods, researchers can analyze disease states and processes on the cellular level and get information about protein synthesis that they could not get with traditional proteomics approaches.
“What’s interesting to me is that very few companies have stepped up and actually offered a solution for this type of analysis,” said Scott Kuzdzal, technology leader for molecular medicine for PerkinElmer’s Life and Analytical Sciences division. “All of these researchers are doing these chemistries on their own beads, getting antibodies from many different sources on different types of media.”
Offering a product that allows scientists to capture antibodies directly on the plate and combine them with chemistries that allow very high elution off the surface “really helps to standardize this type of research,” Kuzdzal told ProteoMonitorthis week. “It provides much more reproducibility than many of the chemistries that these researchers are using in-house.”
While other companies, such as AnaSpec and the Pierce Biotechnology unit of Thermo Fisher Scientific, also offer products with streptavidin-coated plates, the Immuno-catch has higher density and allows the target proteins to be released from the surface more easily, according to PerkinElmer.
“I would say that nobody else out there currently offers a true product aimed at not only the capture but the elution off the surface,” Kuzdzal said.
The kit, which includes two 96-well strip plates, all buffers, and documentation, sells for $280 and can be used with any mass spectrometry platform, PerkinElmer said. The company will highlight the kit at the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities conference at the end of the month.
The technology behind Immuno-catch derives from disease biomarker discovery and identification work that the company is collaborating on with Lance Liotta and Emanuel Petricoin of George Mason University.
Their role, Kuzdzal said, was to provide the concept of amino affinity precipitation coupled with mass spec. Based on their work, PerkinElmer designed much of the Immuno-catch kit to “[pull] things directly out of serum and plasma.
“We saw an ideal fit to produce a reagent kit that enabled them to do exactly what they wanted to do, which was capture these fragments of very specific proteins,” Kuzdzal said.
New Territory, Familiar Strategy
The launch of the Immuno-catch is also part of a new foray by PerkinElmer into the cellular protein-expression segment. During the Human Proteome Organization conference last fall, the company launched a series of products into that space, including the ExacTag mass tags — thiol- and amine-reactive isobaric mass tags for quantification of protein expressions — and a set of Phos-tools, including Phos-trap and Phos-tag for the enrichment and detection of protein phosphorylation.
The company also lauched its Affinity tools, of which Immuno-catch is now a part [See PM 11/02/06].
In addition, during the second quarter of 2007, PerkinElmer is expected to introduce a reagent for phosphoprotein enrichment, said Peter Banks, technology leader for PerkinElmer’s biochemistry and molecular medicine business, which is part of the company’s Life and Analytical Sciences division.
Company officials declined to comment on any sales projections PerkinElmer has for its cellular protein-expression products. 
The Immuno-catch and the phosphoprotein enrichment reagent were developed to reduce the workflow of customers, Banks said.  

“What’s interesting to me is that very few companies have stepped up and actually offered a solution for this type of analysis.”

“We’re also filling these tools with selectivity, sensitivity, and certainly high precision, especially when it comes to quantitative analysis,” Banks said. “When you look at all these tools working together, what we want to do is get away from the fishing expeditions of proteomics in the past where you’re just trying to find a protein in a whole soup of stuff.
“We want to have a much more targeted approach where you’re actually hunting for a protein of interest,” he said.
While other companies with large proteomics businesses have focused the spotlight on their instruments business, PerkinElmer, which has a joint venture agreement with MDS Sciex to develop mass specs, has always paid greater attention to the consumables side of the business.
“We’ve always been more of a reagents company and a high-throughput screening company,” said Kudzdzal. “If you look at the … average clinical market, the revenues associated with instruments are about 10 percent, whereas the revenues associated with reagents are closer to 75 percent.”
Still, some of its competitors are shifting their focus. Two years ago, Applied Biosystems began moving deeper into the consumables space across its entire suite of applications. Agilent recently announced a new strategy to raise its profile in the consumables market. And Thermo Electron’s merger with Fisher Scientific aligned a leading instrument business with a chemical-analysis shop.
While it can be argued that those companies’ ability to link their tools and consumables with their instruments gives them a competitive edge over PerkinElmer, Banks said the opposite is true.
Because its products can be used for any vendor’s platform, they have broader market reach, he said.
“We really want to take these tools to the average biologist,” Banks said. “We’re really trying to take all these technologies to the masses, you could say. The types of folks we’re really targeting here are those researchers who want to do biology and rely on their core labs to do the mass spec analysis.
“We also want to go after the more conservative type customer, such as your average laboratory in pharma, for example, doing target validation, target identification … so we essentially want to cover all the bases,” he said. “We want to go after the little guy, we want to go after the big lab, and we want to go after the conservative lab that sort of takes right now a pretty dim view of proteomics in general.”

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