PALO ALTO, Calif.—Nanosys Inc., based here, and Billerica, Mass.-based Bruker Daltonics Inc. have entered into a broad research and development collaboration and distribution agreement for Nanosys' nanotechnology-enabled matrix-free target plates for use primarily with Bruker's FLEX-series of laser desorption ionization time-of- flight (TOF) mass spectrometers. These Nanosys plates are known as Capture and Analyze NALDI chips.
Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will work together closely on R&D related to the NALDI chips, as well as on applications and assay development. Nanosys has agreed to manufacture and exclusively supply NALDI chips for Bruker laser desorption ionization TOF mass spectrometers, while Bruker Daltonics will market and distribute the NALDI chips worldwide. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
For Nanosys, the advantages of teaming with Bruker were clear, says Calvin Chow, Nanosys' CEO. In addition to being a leader in the area of chemical analysis and life sciences research, he notes, Bruker understands how to take innovative and novel biotech products and get them into high-value markets.
The NALDI chips reportedly provide significant benefits in improving sensitivity, throughput and ease-of-use for the analysis of small molecule drug compounds and other low-mass molecules that have previously been difficult to analyze.
Today, these molecules typically have to be analyzed with LC-MS, noted Bruker and Nanosys in a news release about the deal, adding that this is "time-consuming, less robust and requires more operator training." Using laser desorption ionization, on the other hand, offers such benefits as speedier time to analysis and the ability to decouple the separation and analysis portions of sample preparation, according to Hugh Daniels, director of life sciences R&D for Nanosys.
Using the Nanosys plates and laser desorption, one of the advantages for drug discovery and development is that users can archive their chromatography on the plate, Daniels notes, which helps in going back to do specific analyses, rather than having to keep re-running the process in the serial manner associated with more traditional electrospray ionization/LC-column setups.
"You can also remove some upstream sample processing steps by going straight from assay to plate," Daniels says. "So, for example, if you had a sample from a liver microsome assay, you would typically need many preparative steps before putting it on the instrument to analyze it. With this technology, you take the assay from the buffer, put it right on the plate, extract the sample and do your analysis."