Thermo Fisher Scientific announces collaboration to establish new Tokyo Biomarker Research Center

Efforts teams Thermo’s BRIMS Center with Tokyo Medical University Hospital and Lund University in Sweden

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SAN JOSE, Calif.—Looking for a chance to introduce mass spectrometry-based workflows and technologies into Japan to advance personalized medicine, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. has announced what it is calling "a landmark collaboration" between its Biomarker Research Initiatives in Mass Spectrometry (BRIMS) Center, Tokyo Medical University Hospital and  Lund University in Sweden. The efforts is aimed at creating the Tokyo Biomarker Research Center, which will focus on biomarker discovery and quantification, disease mechanisms, therapeutic drug monitoring and disease pathophysiology.

The BRIMS Center itself is the archetype for the coming Tokyo Biomarker Research Center, and the goal is to bring to the collaboration Thermo Fisher's expertise in mass spectrometry-based assays, workflow development and technology integration, as well as its extensive network of collaborators engaged in similar research.

"In Japan there is an urgent need to develop more targeted disease detection and treatments for a rapidly growing patient population," says Murray Wigmore, senior director of commercial operations in Japan for Thermo Fisher Scientific. The aim is for the collaboration to result in the Tokyo Biomarker Center which will have dedicated laboratories based at Tokyo Medical.

Correlation of protein expression and quantitative regulation for diseases of key concern in Japan such as lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular disease will be performed to discover biomarker candidates related to drug response. The research center will also house an archive with comprehensive tissue and blood sample collections, along with access to complementary clinical and demographic data. The archive will include samples from drug responder and non-responders, and material from clinical studies performed in Scandinavia and other European countries.

Two names of particular note for Thermo in announcing the deal are Toshihide Nishimura and Gyorgy Marko-Varga, both professors at the Tokyo Medical University Hospital.

Nishimura has conducted many clinical research studies of biomarkers for lung disease and prostate cancer, has constructed an extensive network for clinical and biomarker research in Japan, and has conducted extensive protein biomarker discovery research involving 52 lung cancer centers in Japan. Marko-Varga is a professor at Lund University as well as Tokyo Medical University Hospital, and is also a senior drug, discovery/development scientist at AstraZeneca. His current research is focused on the development of novel diagnostic assays and platforms, and interfacing high resolution separation with mass spectrometry, to build an understanding of the mode of drug action and disease mechanisms for lung cancer and COPD.

The BRIMS Center, Thermo Fisher's center of excellence located in Cambridge, Mass., opened in 2004 with a mission to support the development of methodologies and applications for protein biomarker identification and verification. Equipped with a full complement of Thermo Scientific mass spectrometers and staffed by a team of scientists with expertise in mass spectrometry, protein techniques and informatics, the BRIMS Center also develops leading software tools for proteomic research.

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