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Best in metabolomics class
August 2013
by Ilene Schneider  |  Email the author


BASEL, Switzerland—Metabolomics researchers want complete, efficient turnkey solutions, and three companies have joined forces to provide them. At the 9th Annual Conference of the Metabolomics Society in July, AB Sciex of Framingham, Mass., Genedata of Basel, Switzerland and LECO of St. Joseph, Mich. announced a technology partnership for a collaborative software system designed to enable metabolomics researchers to comprehensively process and analyze experimental data across different gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) and liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) platforms.
The companies say they are attempting to provide a seamless solution to extract valuable biological information from high-fidelity LC and GC data to give researchers the ultimate tool for comprehensive metabolomics investigations.  
Metabolomics, the systematic study of the unique chemical fingerprint or metabolomic profile left by cellular processes, is used in pharmaceuticals, disease research and nutrition. All metabolomic applications compare metabolomics profiles of different sample sets to each other to identify metabolites that correlate with a given phenotype.  
Representatives of the three companies were quick to praise their partners as leaders in their respective fields who will approach their customers collectively. All say they hope for a long-term relationship "that enables and empowers our collective customers and lets everybody shine," in the words of Dr. Jeffrey Patrick, director of marketed technology at LECO Separation Science, which offers analytical instrumentation including GC-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC-TOFMS) and LC-time- of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-TOFMS) systems.
"The value of the collaboration is to give customers a chance to understand the biology with a total solution that expedites the workflow toward the best solution by getting the most knowledge out of the huge amounts of data," says Aaron Hudson, senior director of academic and omics business at AB Sciex, which offers tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS), a technique in which quadrupole mass analyzers are used in series to obtain quantitative information for a variety of different analytes.
"The important thing is to remove bottlenecks," explains Othmar Pfannes, CEO of Genedata, which transforms data into intelligence with software solutions designed to make research data accessible and understandable and research processes more efficient.  "Data analysis is a key issue for companies wanting to go to large-scale analysis. What could have taken months now takes hours because of this software."
The collaboration of the three companies has resulted in the latest version of Genedata 's Expressionist MSX software, developed for metabolomics experiments performed with LECO's and AB SCIEX's MS systems. Compatible with other data formats and technologies as well, Genedata's Expressionist MSX software can be downloaded directly via the internet for immediate installation.   
Expressionist MSX provides an end-to-end solution for the most widely used metabolomics applications. LC-MS and GC-MS are the primary metabolomics technologies supported. Based on Genedata Expressionist for Mass Spectrometry, the Genedata best-of-breed automated enterprise-level solution, Expressionist MSX does not require many of the manual intervention steps commonly required with other MS software. It accurately performs data analysis in minutes, eliminating the manual manipulation of data.
"High-quality, mature and proprietary algorithms within Expressionist MSX generate reliable results with fewer false positives and false negatives," Pfannes explains. "With our algorithms publishable, scientifically valid conclusions can be quickly and easily obtained and shared. The completely turnkey nature of Expressionist MSX provides an end-to-end solution for all scientists to perform high-quality analysis with a fine balance between ease of use and flexibility. The potential for full control at each analysis step is provided with zoom and drill-down capabilities, which enable visual inspection and exploration of known areas of interest within chromatograms."
According to Hudson, Genedata was already making software that worked with AB Sciex's systems.  
"Now it's been optimized and streamlined, so the customers can make the best choices for solving their problems," he says. "With the diversity of metabolites, it enhances the commercial potential of the research."  
LECO's Patrick adds, "Now all the data from our systems can be collectively interrogated by the researcher in the most facile manner. It's a good step forward to get the best data available."  
"The ability to bring data from different vendors and technologies onto a single platform, which can process and merge data for maximum biological inference, is where the industry needs to be to effectively evaluate the entire metabolome," summarizes Dr. Vladimir V. Tolstikov, scientist of tailored therapeutics at Eli Lilly & Co.  

AB Sciex combines chromatography with Beckman Coulter's CE business
FRAMINGHAM, Mass.—AB Sciex Pte. Ltd. also announced last month the combination of its chromatography business with the capillary electrophoresis (CE) business from Beckman Coulter Life Sciences in an effort to advance separations science. This move brings together Beckman Coulter's expertise in microscale separation with the expertise in microfluidics of the Eksigent chromatography team of AB Sciex.

The partnership includes the transition of personnel as well as CE technologies and resources from Beckman Coulter Life Sciences to AB Sciex. The Eksigent LC team of the Sciex separations business and the CE team of Beckman Coulter will work together to develop breakthrough, integrated applications that provide fast and efficient separations of drugs, drug metabolites, organic acids, amino acids, low molecular-weight amines, peptides, nucleic acids and nucleosides.  
By the end of the third quarter, the Sciex separations business will manage both the standalone Beckman Coulter CE products and the integrated CE-MS technology. The CE products will continue to be branded by Beckman Coulter. The separations business will also continue to manage all chromatography products, including Eksigent nano-LC and micro-LC systems, chips, software and columns.  
"We are bringing together the best in CE with the best in nano-LC and micro-LC as a unified team to broaden the range of solutions available to our customers," said Rainer Blair, president of AB Sciex. "By integrating the Beckman Coulter CE team into the Sciex separations business, we will be able to take CE and our chromatography solutions to a whole new level. We are committed to investing in our separations business for long-term success."
Code: E081319



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