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Thermo Fisher Emphasizes Informatics and Sample Prep Portions of Proteomics Portfolio

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This story originally ran on July 27.

By Adam Bonislawski

During a second-quarter earnings call this week, Thermo Fisher officials highlighted product developments and acquisitions they said were aimed at enhancing the company's proteomics offerings and complementing its mass spectrometry platforms.

In particular, CEO Marc Casper cited the release of the newest version of the company's Proteome Discoverer software and the acquisition of nano-LC firm Proxeon in April as developments that will allow the company to better leverage its mass spec offerings.

The company's new informatics products, which also include its PinPoint software for SRM assay development, "virtually reinvent mass spec-based workflows for life sciences," Casper said, "fully leveraging the power of our… technologies, including the Orbitrap."

He said that the Proxeon acquisition, meantime, "complements our leading ion trap and hybrid systems by adding capabilities for nanoflow liquid chromatography," adding that proteomics was an "attractive market" for the company.

Complementing existing mass spec systems has seemed a point of emphasis for Thermo Fisher in recent months, as it has released a variety of products aimed at the pre- and post-mass spec portions of proteomic workflows.

Iain Mylchreest, vice president and general manager of Life Sciences Mass Spectrometry at Thermo Fisher, seemed to affirm this strategy when he spoke to ProteoMonitor at this year's ASMS meeting.

"What we've tried to portray is that it's not all just about the mass spectrometer," he said. "We have our Orbitrap technology, which is a proven technology, and there's plenty of runway in that technology to make it faster, higher resolution, more accurate. But there are always developments on how you get samples into the mass spectrometer."

"We're evolving our portfolio of capabilities because as the challenge changes you've got to bring some new tools out, whether that's cleaning a sample up or fishing into a sample to look at a specific type of peptide. You've got to look at the entire workflow," he said.

At ASMS the company released new Pierce spin columns and tandem mass tag reagents for peptide enrichment, new versions of the aforementioned Proteome Discoverer and PinPoint software, and its Easy-NLC II nano-LC system. Earlier this month it added to its mass tag reagent line with cysteine-reactive labels.

Last week the company announced the development of a new application for its LTQ Orbitrap XL ETD machine that uses data-dependent decision tree logic and the Proteome Discoverer software to improve mass spec phosphopeptide identification by 30 percent compared to conventional methods.

For the quarter ended July 3, Thermo Fisher's revenues increased 7 percent to $2.65 billion from $2.48 billion in the second quarter of 2009 while net income rose nearly 15 percent to $237.3 million from $206.9 million in the year-ago period.

Revenues for the company's Analytical Technologies segment, which houses its mass spec business, grew 10 percent to $1.10 billion from $1 billion in Q2 2009.

Within the Analytical Technologies group, Thermo saw "especially strong growth" in its mass spectrometry business, clinical diagnostics, and biosciences business, CFO Peter Wilver said during the call. He did not elaborate.

The company forecast between $10.60 billion and $10.75 billion in revenues for full-year 2010, which was down from a previous forecast of between $10.65 billion and $10.8 billion.

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