Proteome Sciences said today it signed a $2.1 million technology agreement with Thermo Fisher Scientific to develop advanced methods for profiling changes in key cancer pathways. Thermo Fisher will pay Proteome Sciences in return for access to its patents covering a three-stage mass spectrometry (MS3) fragmentation methodology intended to deliver significantly improved analysis and accuracy.

Thermo Fisher also agreed to provide a no-cost lease for mass spectrometry equipment for Proteome Sciences to develop the pathway assays. In addition Proteome Sciences will continue to develop for Thermo Fisher advanced 20- and 30-plex Tandem Mass Tags (TMT®) that will serves as the next additions to the TMT range of tags for discovery, validation, and routine measurement of biomarkers.

The MS3 TMT mass spectrometry technique is designed to enable mass spectrometers to determine relative quantitation of proteins in multiple samples simultaneously, with improved accuracy. 

“The combination of the highest sample multiplexing rates from TMT with the industry-leading Thermo Scientific Orbitrap mass spectrometer enables us to provide an unrivaled platform to investigate subtle but significant changes in the proteome,” Ian Pike, Ph.D., COO of Proteome Sciences, said in a statement. “We are at a critical juncture toward the development of personalized medicine, which requires high-resolution maps of the protein networks regulating disease.”

Thermo Fisher’s Thermo Scientific analytical technologies and instruments brand already exclusively licenses and distributes worldwide Proteome Sciences’ isobaric and isotopic reagents under the TMT brand. TMT tags proteins and peptides, with the goal of radically reducing variability in biomarker discovery and speeding up the transition to biomarker validation.

TMT is one of Proteome Sciences’ three core areas of operation, along with PS Biomarker Services™ and biomarkers. In its annual report for 2012, Proteome Sciences said TMT product sales grew last year by 41% over 2011, to £431,492 ($676,082), more than a third of the company’s roughly total £1.2 million ($1.8 million) from major products and services.

The annual report also predicted additional TMT growth this year, based in part on the availability of the recently launched 8- and 10-plex reagents, as well as “the anticipated launch of TMT 20-plex and TMT 30-plex later in 2013 or early 2014.”

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