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Shimadzu and Indigo BioSystems begin their ASCENT
August 2014
by Lloyd Dunlap  |  Email the author
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INDIANAPOLIS—Japanese company Shimadzu and Indiana-based Indigo BioSystems have announced a partnership to develop and market mass spectrometry solutions that simplify and accelerate clinical data acquisition and data review for applications in clinical research, forensic toxicology and new drug development.
 
Under the terms of the agreement, Shimadzu is combining its ultra-fast mass spectrometry platforms with Indigo BioSystems’ expert system software. ASCENT clinical analysis software is a comprehensive and powerful data analysis suite that interprets visual data results from instruments and automatically reviews the data for problematic results. Results are delivered quickly, consistently and reliably, the news release announcing the new partnership stated.
 
“Shimadzu triple quadrupole mass spectrometers have ultra- fast scanning speeds (30,000 mu/sec) and polarity switching speeds (5 msec),” notes Scott Kuzdzal, Life Science Business Unit manager. “Researchers can acquire up to 555 MRM transitions per second. This speed greatly impacts analysis—researchers can collect more information in a single run. Also, one run can be used to collect positive and negative analyte data. Ultra-fast mass spectrometry (UFMS) not only provides higher sensitivity performance, but also delivers higher-quality data, enabling dramatic improvements in analytical throughput and expanding the potential range of applications.”
 
ASCENT supports the scientist by automatically analyzing and reporting correct data and flagging only the outliers for expert review. The software speeds sample analysis by automating peak selection and peak area fitting. It also includes assay-specific quality assurance rules, which allow peaks to be automatically tested for quality. ASCENT operates using a web-browser interface, requiring no software to be installed on computers in order to perform quantitative analysis.
 
“ASCENT provides an automated system that compares chromatographic data to the correct quality rules and flags results that do not meet user-defined criteria,” Kuzdzal says. “For example, if a peak is integrated and the calculated concentration is below the lower limit of quantitation, then it can be automatically flagged as ‘Present < LLOQ.’ Under- or over-linearity results can be automatically posted according to in-house rules. ASCENT not only reduces the number of ‘touch-time’ steps in the process, it also reduces the amount of time required for the remaining steps by simplifying them and providing a powerful yet flexible interface for data review.”
 
Patrick Armstrong, director of Shimadzu Scientific Instruments’ R&D department said, “Indigo BioSystems’ tools for high-throughput automated data analysis are highly developed with an impressive list of advanced features and greatly simplify clinical laboratory workflows.” He added, “We are excited to work with Indigo to leverage powerful ASCENT tools on Shimadzu’s ultra-fast mass spectrometry platforms.”
 
Dr. Randall Julian, CEO of Indigo BioSystems said, “Our partnership with Shimadzu will result in tighter integration between their excellent ultra-fast LC-MS/MS and our automated analysis software, ASCENT. This collaboration allows production labs to achieve maximum efficiency, superior quality and rapid turnaround time. Shimadzu’s instruments, in combination with the ASCENT software, create a high-throughput, intelligent production system.”
 
Shimadzu and Indigo note that the platforms upon which they are collaborating are for research use only (RUO), not for use in diagnostic procedures. Shimadzu also manufactures LCMS “CL Series” instruments, which are Class I medical devices registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for clinical diagnostics use, Kuzdzal explains. “ASCENT provides powerful data review capabilities for both RUO and diagnostics applications,” he notes.
 
Shimadzu Scientific Instruments (SSI) is the American subsidiary of Shimadzu Corp., which is headquartered in Kyoto, Japan. Founded in 1875, Shimadzu is a $3-billion multinational corporation with three major divisions: Medical Diagnostics, Aerospace/Industrial and Analytical Instruments. In the United States, SSI has a network of more than 50 locations providing local and regional sales, service and technical support.
 
Indigo BioSystems is a provider of automated data analysis, data management and data integration solutions to the clinical diagnostics reference laboratory and life-sciences markets. Indigo’s tools provide the clinical and pharmaceutical industries with analysis and interchange capabilities that permit complex experiments to be performed globally under full quality management protocols.
 
SSI’s parent Shimadzu Corp. also recently announced the release of the new mutual support between the Skyline quantitative proteomics software and Shimadzu’s high-sensitivity triple quadrupole LC/MS/MS platform in a collaboration between Shimadzu and the MacCoss Lab of Biological Mass Spectrometry at the University of Washington.
 
As mass spectrometry-based proteomics technologies continue to play an ever-increasing role in biomarker discovery, validation and translation for biological and clinical applications, advances in throughput and multiplexing are necessary to improve quantitation of biomarkers in this emerging field referred to as quantitative clinical chemistry proteomics (qCCP). To bring qCCP applications closer to clinical laboratories, Shimadzu has integrated its ultra-fast LC/MS/MS platforms with the powerful, freely available Skyline quantitative proteomics software.
 
Skyline software can be used to design, refine and optimize selected reaction monitoring and multiple reaction monitoring and full-scan MS and MS/MS quantitative methods based on protein sequences and user-defined rules. Skyline software not only integrates results with method optimization, it is also described as a common framework for quantitative proteomics for researchers to standardize to and adopt.
 
Code: E081426

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