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Current Trends in Mass Spec

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Advances in mass spectroscopy technology continue to increase both speed and resolution at an incredible rate. Whilst the addition of new tools and software drives the growth of potential application areas. These factors are stimulating the increased usage of mass spectroscopy across drug development, proteomics, pharmaceuticals, food safety testing and many other fields. But, barriers do still remain. Most commonly referenced are the high cost of instrumentation and the expertise required to use the technology.

To find out more about the emerging opportunities in this market, we spoke to Rohan Thakur, Executive Vice President, Bruker Daltonics. 

JR: Please give me an overview of Bruker Daltonics and the markets you focus on?

RT: Bruker Daltonics focuses on the development of robust, powerful and easy to implement analytical solutions for any challenge. Bruker provides a variety of innovative turnkey mass spectrometry systems for academic, pharmaceutical, industrial, clinical and applied markets. Consistently and expertly supported, our turnkey system solutions and complete workflows offer integrated instrument and software tools which enhance the productivity and capabilities of any analytical operation.

JR: In what segments do you see the most growth and investment? And, which application areas are most important to Bruker? 

RT: We see the most growth and investment across the Pharma, Biopharma, Food authenticity and toxicology segments. From a toxicity perspective, we have seen a rise in MALDI FTMS imaging applications and this is a key area for us. Our innovative mass spectrometry systems cover a range of applications, such as proteomics, metabolomics, pharmaceutical, clinical research and applied markets.

JR: What trends do you see emerging over the next 10 years? 

RT: As a world leader in MALDI technology, we see this technique developing over the next ten years. Utilised for direct imaging for proteins, peptides, glycans, lipids, drugs and metabolites in tissue. 

Bruker’s product line also includes trapped ion mobility, a powerful extension to mass spectrometry that delivers information on the three-dimensional structure of an ion, and increases confidence in compound characterization. With timsTOFTM, Bruker introduces the next generation of trapped ion mobility-mass spectrometry, engineered as an open platform to accelerate the adoption of trapped ion mobility-mass spectrometry analysis across research applications.

We foresee the use of MALDI changing over the next ten years. It had previously been seen as on the way out as sample delivery was arduous. Adoption is more significant if sample reproduction and reproducibility is easier. One company is using MALDI for NSCLC prognostic testing (LDT) to tell if a patient is responding to treatment and that shows the power of MALDI.

JR: The market is experiencing continuous advancement in terms of technology and features offered with mass spectrometry. How does Bruker keep pace? 

RT: Bruker always strives to maintain its innovation. Taking MALDI Imaging as an example, MALDI Imaging can be used for both targeted and untargeted analysis. A typical example of a targeted analysis is the measurement of drug and metabolite distribution in tissue. A typical example of an untargeted analysis is the search for protein, glycan or lipid biomarkers. Other application areas of MALDI Imaging include model studies in neuroscience, developmental biology, molecular interactions of bacterial colonies, distribution of secondary metabolites in plants and others. We always look forward for where our systems can be best utilized and additional applications where we can best fit.

MALDI PharmaPulse is a complete mass spectrometry based screening solution designed to accelerate hit identification phases of drug discovery. The system offers the advantage of label-free hit identification in biochemical assays. An ultrafast MALDI-TOF system delivers analytical results in less than 1 second per sample making it uniquely suited for ultra High Throughput Screening (µHTS) applications. 

This innovative solution delivers significant cost-per-sample reductions due to the extremely low solvent and reagent usage, reduced waste generation including hazardous solvents requiring difficult disposal, and the elimination of any sample pre-treatment steps such as SPE or HPLC. Assay development with the MALDI PharmaPulse is simple and rapid while sample and data processing is fully automated. Combined with the robust instrument performance, these factors significantly increase lab efficiency.

JR: What’s your outlook on the industry for the next few years? What opportunities are you looking forward to in 2017?

RT: According to a recent report, the global MS market accounted for $4.9 billion revenue in 2015, and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.1% during 2016-2022, crossing the $7.3 billion mark by 2022. This is due in part to technological advancements in mass spectrometers and continuously increasing expenditure on healthcare around the world. As well as clinical testing, drug discovery and development, proteomics, and also detecting of microorganisms in food assisting quality control and food safety we see improvements in analytical performance in areas such as toxicology.

Rohan Thakur was speaking to Jack Rudd, Editor for Technology Networks.