Bruker in 3D

Company announces acquisition of SkyScan, launches Micro-CT 3D X-ray imaging systems for life-science and materials research

Lloyd Dunlap
ANTWERP, Belgium—Bruker Corp. has acquired all of the shares of SkyScan NV, ascientific instruments company also located near Antwerp. Financial detailswere not disclosed. For the remainder of 2012, the acquisition of SkyScan isexpected to add approximately $13 million to Bruker's revenue and to beaccretive to EPS by about 1 cent. SkyScan's revenue is fairly evenly dividedbetween applications in materials science and the life sciences, includingpreclinical imaging applications.

SkyScan develops, manufactures and distributes worldwide advanced,high-resolution micro computed tomography (CT) systems for three-dimensionalX-ray imaging. SkyScan's micro-CT instruments can be configured for numerousapplications in materials research and in the life sciences, including in-vivo preclinical animal imaging, in-vitro bone and soft tissue imaging, 3D imaging ofelectronic components, synthetic materials, new devices such as microsensorsand pacemakers, geological samples, fuel cell components, ceramics and more.

With global Bruker distribution and customer service capabilities for materialsresearch, preclinical imaging and SEM accessories, the Bruker microCT businessis now well positioned to drive the further profitable growth of the SkyScan 3Dmicro-CT imaging products. In addition, most successful SkyScan distributorswill be able to continue to distribute SkyScan products in their countries ormarket segments. Bruker intends to invest in additional micro-CT applicationsand demo centers to further enhance customer collaborations and supportworldwide.

"Micro-CT produces highly resolved images in true 3D," says Bruker BioSpinManaging Director Wulf-Ingo Jung. He notes that it is the only modality thatcan do this, with MRI being "second-best." By way of comparison, Jung sayspixel size for MRI is 25-30 microns and down to 9 micron with micro-CT.

"Having said that," Jung adds, "CT has been considered a difficult techniquebecause of the X-ray dose to animals. SkyScan has solved this problem and itsinstruments result in a lower dose that doesn't harm the animal, and therebyfacilitates serial studies—say, re-imaging once a week or so."

A complete high-resolution data set can be generated in 10 minutes, he says.
Following the acquisition, the company has been renamedBruker microCT NV and will continue to operate from its premises in Belgiumunder its previous management. The new Bruker microCT business will continue toproduce all micro-CT instruments under the SkyScan brand, and will provideenhanced global support for the installed worldwide base of SkyScan. Currently,micro-CT is about two-thirds of its overall life-science business, Jung notes,but still a relatively minor part of overall Bruker sales.
 
Recently, Dr. James S. Michaelson, director of the Laboratory for QuantitativeMedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and associate professor at HarvardMedical School, and his team have been investigating the use of micro-CT forbreast tissue imaging after lumpectomy. Initial results have been promising.
 
 
Dr. Alexander Sasov, founder and CEO of the former SkyScancompany, and now managing director and CEO of Bruker microCT, commented: "Wehave been looking for a strong and competent strategic partner to continue therapid growth that SkyScan has enjoyed over many years. I am very glad that withthe strong Bruker brand and the additional worldwide Bruker distributionchannels and support network, we have found exactly what we were looking for todrive our micro-CT business to the next level of success."


Dr. Frank Laukien, president and CEO of Bruker, adds: "We are excited to haveAlexander Sasov and his capable SkyScan team join us, adding in-depth 3D X-raymicro-CT imaging experience to Bruker. We are impressed by the portfolio ofhigh-performance SkyScan products, which fit nicely into our global materialsresearch and preclinical imaging distribution channels and which complement ourother X-ray analysis and preclinical MRI products. The Bruker microCT teamshares our philosophy of innovation, quality and customer-support excellence."
 
 


Bruker, UMCG partner on anaerobic infections
 
LONDON—Bruker also announced March 31 that it has enteredinto a partnership with the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) withinthe new European Network for the Rapid Identification of Anaerobes (ENRIA) basedon Bruker's MALDI Biotyper system for MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry-basedmicrobial identification. 
 
Anaerobic infections belong to the neglected infectiousdiseases and are often underestimated in their importance. According to thepartners, knowledge is still lacking on the importance of anaerobes as humanpathogens in many infection processes and their role of being a possiblereservoir for virulence and resistance genes. Classic identification ofanaerobes has remained cumbersome and difficult to standardize over recentdecades. Thus, anaerobic bacteria remain often unidentified in clinicalmicrobiological practice.
 
Bruker's MALDI Biotyper has recently opened the possibilityto use MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry for the rapid identification of anaerobic bacteria.
 
 
ENRIA is coordinated by the Dutch expert center foranaerobic bacteria at the Department of Medical Microbiology of the UMCG andthe Hungarian Reference Laboratory for Anaerobic Infections at the Universityof Szeged in Hungary. Both centers are considered leaders in culture-based andmolecular analysis of anaerobes, including oral and gut microbiology.
 
 
ENRIA will set up an international and well-characterizedanaerobic strain collection comprising of the most important anaerobic species,including parodontogenic bacteria. Reference spectra of this strain collectionwill be added to Bruker's MALDI Biotyper database. ENRIA will offerinternational workshops for standardization of MALDI-TOF MS usage in theidentification of anaerobic bacteria. Finally, participating laboratories willperform a quality certification for the rapid identification of anaerobicbacteria with excellent quality using classical detection methods and MALDI-TOFMS.
 
 
"The MALDI Biotyper method of using proteomic fingerprintsfor MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry-based microbial identification is of specialinterest for anaerobic bacteria, as they are typically slow growing andinactive in biochemical tests. Moreover, the MALDI Biotyper is using amolecular fingerprint and is not dependent on certain metabolic properties ofthe respective bacteria," said Prof. Dr. Alex Friedrich, chair of MedicalMicrobiology and Infection Control at the UMCG, in a statement. "This allowsfor a much more unambiguous identification of this difficult group of bacteriaand opens new perspectives for rapid identification and biotyping. The ENRIAinitiative aims towards further building up such identification capabilities byincluding additional anaerobic isolates from other major European expertlaboratories in this field. The UMC Groningen will organize subsequentproficiency tests to establish this approach as the standard for anaerobicbacteria identification."

Lloyd Dunlap

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