Mass spectrometry developments

Applied Biosystems, an Applera Corporation business, has announced three new value-added services for laboratories that are utilising Applied Biosystems/MDS SCIEX mass spectrometry instrument systems as part of an overall workflow solution.

These new services include: a maintenance programme for high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) systems manufactured by Agilent Technologies; a software validation consulting service for laboratories operating in regulated environments; and an expanded

Web-based solution for remote system monitoring and diagnosis.

These specialised services are being offered by Applied Biosystems to support its customers who are increasingly focused on maximising system productivity, maintaining regulatory compliance and increasing overall return on their technology investments. The respective services are:

  • Agilent HPLC repair service. Applied Biosystems has entered into an agreement with Agilent Technologies to service HPLC instruments manufactured by Agilent in environments in which the two companies have mutual customers. HPLC instruments are often combined with Applied Biosystems/MDS SCIEX mass spectrometers to form a complete workflow solution for separating, identifying and quantifying compounds for analysis in high-throughput applications such as drug discovery.
  • Analyst software validation support service. This service simplifies the audit of mass spectrometry systems operating in regulated drug discovery and development applications. Analyst software controls mass spectrometry systems and facilitates their secure operation and accuracy in data analysis and reporting.
  • Smart centre online. This service expands the functionality of Applied Biosystems’ Smart Services remote instrument monitoring solution. Working with Applied Biosystems professional services, mass spectrometry system administrators can utilise this service to create a customised web-based portal for viewing detailed information about specific instruments.

According to Applied Biosystems, the company is offering these value-added services in response to a growing number of customers who have indicated that direct original equipment manufacturer expertise is preferable in applications in which Applied Biosystems’ instrument-based systems, consumables, and software are central to a complete workflow solution.

One such company is Vimta Labs, a global provider of contract research and testing services, employs technologies from a variety of manufacturers to meet the diverse needs of its global pharmaceutical manufacturing clients. The company chose to utilise the expertise of Applied Biosystems global services to validate Analyst Software on its Applied Biosystems/MDS SCIEX mass spectrometers rather than using other companies to perform the critical task.

“We believe that Applied Biosystems is uniquely qualified to support our 13 Applied Biosystems/MDS SCIEX mass spectrometers because they possess specialised expertise that is only available from an original equipment manufacturer,” said SP Vasireddi, md at Vimta.

Closer collaborators

For its part, Agilent Technologies has also signed an agreement to co-market its 6410 Triple Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer with BioTrove’s RapidFire high-throughput sample preparation systems. The two systems together provide an integrated solution for ultra-high-throughput preparation and analysis of in vitro biological assays in pharmaceutical drug research.

“This relationship enables clients to integrate the fastest sample-preparation system on the market with the strength of leading-edge analytical mass spectrometry,” said Guenter Nill, Agilent general manager, pharmaceutical and biotech market.

Using innovative microfluidic technology for sample preparation and analysis faster than eight seconds per sample, RapidFire Mass Spectrometry (RF-MS) eliminates bottlenecks created by traditional mass spectrometry throughput. It has been used by 10 of the top 15 pharmaceutical companies as an established drug-discovery tool for more than four years. RF-MS is routinely used in applications including the high-throughput screening of previously intractable drug targets, cytochrome P450 inhibition and other pre-clinical ADME assays, as well as in directed evolution studies.

Meanwhile Invitrogen, a provider of essential life science technologies for research, production and diagnostics, is collaborating with the Human Proteome Organisation (HUPO), an international scientific organisation that promotes proteomics, in the launch of the HUPO Gold MS protein standard sampling programme.

According to the two organisations, this will become the first commercially available all-recombinant human protein standard for mass spectrometry.

The new standard is a defined mixture of known human proteins designed to allow scientists to benchmark the quality of their experimental data and compare results from experiment to experiment and is expected to become an essential tool in data validation for all MS-related analysis. It should allow scientists to validate and cross-reference their data, independent of sample types processed, mass spectrometry workflows performed, or actual mass spectrometers used (Fig.1).

Samples of the HUPO Gold MS Protein Standard are immediately available to members of HUPO. The entire HUPO Gold MS protein standard will be commercially available in the first quarter of 2008.

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