On July 13, MOBILion Systems announced that it had raised $60 million in a Series C round of financing. Undoubtedly, the company’s preceding launch of its MOBIE—a high-resolution ion mobility mass spectrometry (HRIM-MS) platform—fueled some of that fund raising. CEO Melissa Sherman, PhD, points out that this system was designed and developed to characterize biotherapeutics “because we need higher-order analytical tools to adequately characterize today’s more complex therapeutic systems and products.”
MOBIE is based on structures for lossless ion manipulation (SLIM), which is an MS-based method that was developed by chemist Richard D. Smith, PhD, director of proteome research at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. SLIM provides MS with three improvements: increased throughput, decreased sample size, and enhanced sensitivity.
The first-generation MOBIE helps scientists mostly in drug discovery and development, Sherman says. A second-generation version is already in the company’s pipeline. MOBIE 2.0, if you will, “takes another step forward in terms of ease of use—even more automated, even faster, even more accessible to a routine operator, and it’s really meant to be a complimentary product strategy,” she explains. “So, the same assays that are developed in the drug development part of the process can translate immediately downstream to manufacturing,” she says, adding that “The goal is to be closer to at-line.”
Sherman points out two key objectives of adding MOBIE to bioprocessing. “We’re really seeking to ensure product quality, by providing a deeper level of characterization required for these complex systems,” she says. “It also enables the evolution from batch to continuous processing.”
As manufacturers move more deeply into Bioprocessing 4.0, an increasing emphasis will go to using the same technologies in R&D and manufacturing. That will allow a continuity of analysis from a lab bench to a pilot system to a production line.