With mass spectrometry equipment vendors lining the Ballroom of the East Brunswick Hilton last week, the North Jersey Mass Spectrometry Discussion Group monthly meeting almost felt like a prelude to the ASMS meeting in Montreal next month. Close to 300 mass spectrometrists from New Jersey and elsewhere — including 29 vendors — had gathered for the “season finale” of a series of monthly seminar meetings that the discussion group, a division of the American Chemical Society, had been organizing over the past eight months.
According to the organizers, around half of last week’s crowd had an interest in protein mass spectrometry. Some probably came to hear Don Hunt from the University of Virginia talk about protein analysis by Fourier Transform and ion trap mass spectrometry.
Also, a number of companies had products for proteomics companies on display, and some were ready to give a glimpse of new products they are planning to launch in the coming weeks.
Leap Technologies, a small company based in Carrboro, NC, that focuses on liquid handling workstations, offers a combined 2D gel imaging and spot cutting system it launched earlier this year. The instrument, which has a small footprint and can scan up to six small gels or one large gel, transfers spots into 96- or 384-well plates or vials. Within the next two to three months, Leap is planning to add a second model that will include digestion and spotting capabilities in the same unit.
Gyros of Sweden said it is coming out with two new additions to its compact disk-shaped protein analysis products. One, to be launched later this month, will be a MALDI IMAC (immobilized metal affinity chromatography) disk to separate phosphopeptides prior to mass spectrometry analysis. The other one will be a disk to perform ELISA-type sandwich immunoassays that Gyros hopes to bring to market around the end of June. This disk will contain streptavidin-coated microparticles, to which biotinylated capture antibodies can be coupled. Analytes that bind to these particles are detected by fluorescently labeled secondary antibodies. A fluorescent reader integrated into the Gyros workstation provides the readout for the CD, which contains up to about 100 samples, in under two minutes, according to the company. This assay format, which requires about 200 nanoliters of sample, will be suitable for protein quantification in serum and plasma samples.
Advion BioSciences of Ithaca, NY, which offers an automated nanoelectrospray platform called NanoMate that contains a disposable ESI chip, is planning to launch an automated zip-tip robotic system, for example for desalting samples prior to mass spectrometry. According to company representatives, Advion will have installed its NanoMate platform at several pharmaceutical companies by the end of July.
These product announcements provide an introduction to the new product influx that is bound to begin when mass spec conferees convene in June.