Bruker BioSciences and SurroMed this week announced a deal that will allow Bruker to expand its fledgling biomarker discovery business while SurroMed snags a key high profile company to back up its own efforts.
“We need a strong strategic relationship with a leading equipment supplier and that’s what we think we have now with the Bruker transaction,” August Moretti, SurroMed’s chief financial officer, told ProteoMonitor. Moretti said that the initial deal — which involves SurroMed’s purchase of multiple units of Bruker’s microTOF benchtop ESI-TOF machines and an agreement to jointly develop peak recognition software and sample preparation products based on Bruker’s existing liquid chromatography technology — is “definitely the beginning of a deeper partnership” over the long term. SurroMed is looking into making MS/MS purchases from Bruker as well, according to Moretti.
Moretti said that SurroMed chose the low-end mass specs for purchase after an analysis by the company’s in-house chemistry department determined that “the Bruker machine offered the best combination of sensitivity and pricing of anything that was available.” The company will use the microTOFs for existing in-house and collaborative biomarker discovery projects. In October, the company announced collaborations with the National Human Genome Research Institute for the discovery of restenosis biomarkers, and with Wake Forest University for the development of cancer diagnostics. Moretti said SurroMed has addi-tional collaborations in place that have not been announced.
Bruker also has something to gain from the deal. The instrument company first stuck its toe into the clinical proteomics space earlier this year with the introduction of its ClinProt biomarker discovery system, which Bruker hopes will rival Ciphergen’s SELDI system (see PM 9-5-03, 7-18-03). Bruker investor relations officer Michael Willett referred all questions on the deal to SurroMed, but CEO Frank Laukien said in a statement, “Collaborating with SurroMed on the further development of LC-ESI/TOF based biomarker discovery tools adds an important second dimension to our strategy as a leading tools provider for clinical proteomics.”
According to Moretti, the companies plan to jointly develop peak recognition software — a project that is “definitely something we’re moving on right now.” The sample preparation products that the companies also plan to develop will be based on Bruker’s existing LC technology. “They have some good technology for deconvoluting complex samples,” Moretti said. He said financial details of the development projects, such as how IP will be shared, are still being worked out.
Bruker also announced a collaboration with Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands this week. LUMC will purchase four mass specs from Bruker and will provide feedback to the company on the use of the spec for clinical proteomics and biomarker discovery.