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ASMS Introduces… An Overview of What’s New for 2021

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The 69th American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics took place last week in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With a return to an in-person event, over 100 exhibitors shared their latest developments and took the opportunity to launch their newest products.

Here we highlight some of the innovations featured at the event.

6560C Ion Mobility LC-Q-TOF

Agilent announced the release of the 6560C Ion Mobility LC-Q-TOF (liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight), part of a range of solutions the company is developing to improve the analysis of proteins and peptides.

Addressing the challenges of biomolecule analysis was a key theme at this year’s event, and the new 6560C Ion Mobility LC-Q-TOF has a range of new capabilities to provide more precise measurements of large protein complexes.

Key features include:

  • Collision-induced unfolding for quantitative structural analysis of proteins
  • High-resolution demultiplexing postprocessing, generating ion mobility resolution of up to 250
  • First-principle-based collision cross-section measurement and accuracy without standards

True Mass CDMS

True Mass presented a prototype of the world’s first commercially designed charge detection mass spectrometer (CDMS) at ASMS.

The technology supports the detailed analysis of macromolecules, overcoming the trade-off traditionally seen between resolution and throughput when identifying the true mass of large biomolecules.

“The pandemic showed us beyond all doubt that we have an urgent need for technology that provides accurate, reliable and in-depth analysis to help us better understand large molecules such as viruses,” John Hoyes, founder and CEO of TrueMass, commented in a press release.


Multi reflecting time-of-flight (MRT) was the technology of focus for Waters, with the company showcasing its SELECT SERIES MRT.

The SELECT SERIES MRT enables consistent mass resolution over a broad mass range and scan speeds, providing unsurpassed quality of mass spectrometry data and information.

In a user meeting at ASMS, panel members from Waters highlighted their favourite applications of the technology, including:

  • Cucumber analysis (data from Dr. Robert Bradshaw)
  • Drug metabolite analysis – how drug treatments have changed endogenous lipids
  • Differentiating two small metabolites found in and outside of mouse brain tumors


SCIEX shared the development of imaged capillary isoelectric focusing-mass spectrometry (icIEF)-MS technology, a new category of analytical instrumentation created to accelerate biotherapeutic development. 

Key capabilities of the technology previously demonstrated include the rapid characterization of charge isoforms of a novel bispecific antibody construct and the identification of capillary isoelectric focusing peaks in less than a day.

At ASMS, new findings of the capabilities of icIEF-MS were presented, highlighting how the technology can be used to support biopharmaceutical process development in cell line selection.


PreOmics announced the launch of BeatBox, a new sample preparation instrument for tissues and difficult to break-down cells.

Key features include:

  • Ability to process up to 96 tissue samples
  • Fast – homogenization complete in 10 minutes
  • Small footprint
  • Quiet operation

BeatBox helps to ensure reliable tissue homogenization and was shown to improve reproducibility by 2.5 times in a
recent comparison with two commercial homogenizers.

SCiLS™ autopilot software

Bruker introduced SCiLS™ autopilot software for automated mass spectrometry imaging acquisition.

In addition to decreasing the time and expertise needed for matrix-assisted laser/desorption ionization (MALDI) imaging, the solution can help to ensure image quality and reproducibility, another key theme from this year’s event.

“With market adoption of MALDI imaging in biopharma, intelligent automation is important to ensure seamless integration of imaging and a driver of robust results,” stated Dr. Michael Easterling, Bruker director of MALDI imaging, in a press release.

Orbitrap Exploris MX mass detector

Thermo Fisher Scientific showcased its Orbitrap Exploris MX mass detector, a solution designed to streamline biopharmaceutical development and quality control (QC).

The new offering provides market-leading resolution, mass accuracy and sensitivity, as well as productivity improvements.

Key benefits include:

  • Simplified implementation of multi-attribute method (MAM) into QC
  • High resolution accurate mass data for intact analysis of monoclonal antibodies, oligonucleotide mass determination and peptide mapping
  • Easy adoption for contract research, development and manufacturing organizations


Launched in June 2021, MOBIE was showcased by MOBILion at ASMS, giving scientists the opportunity to see the instrument in action.

The high-resolution ion mobility solution separates and identifies molecules other instruments fail to detect and addresses challenges of biotherapeutic characterization.

MOBIE is based on structures for lossless ion manipulation (SLIM), a technology developed by a team of scientists led by Dr. Richard Smith at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

This is just a small selection of some of the innovative technologies and solutions that were presented at ASMS this year. You can view the complete range of vendors and find out more about their technologies by visiting the ASMS 2021 website.