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Agilent, BioTrove forge VAR agreement
WOBURN, Mass.—Expanding on their 2007 co-marketing agreement on the service side, BioTrove and Agilent last month signed a non-exclusive value-added reseller agreement to enable BioTrove to provide enhanced options for users of its RapidFire mass spectrometry sample preparation system for mass spectrometry-based drug discovery. Earlier this year, BioTrove announced a similar agreement with Applied Biosystems Inc. In both cases, BioTrove will stress its capability to provide integrated sample prep-mass spec solutions to create a high-throughput advanced workflow solution. The agreement, which was driven to some extent by Agilent's lower price point vis-à-vis API, includes Agilent atmospheric pressure ionization (API) sources with the mass spectrometers.
"Many customers use optical plate readers, not mass spectrometers," notes Can "Jon" Özbal, VP and general manager of BioTrove's RapidFire Business Unit. "But very few molecules in nature give off light," he adds. By focusing on a small subset of applications, RapidFire-mass spectrometry reduces sample preparation time to six to eight seconds, decreasing the bottleneck in high-throughput screening of candidate drug compounds by enabling automated sample preparation. "We like to pick our battles and win them," Özbal states. Among the targeted assays are kinases, large lipids, P450 and Pgp inhibition, drug-drug interactions, transporter assays and metabolic stability.
Agilent characterizes itself as the "new player on the block," says Markus Jaquemar, the company's life sciences marketing director. "In pharma today, productivity in the new economic situation is key," he says. He notes that Agilent and BioTrove provide an effective combination of high throughput and high quality. Though the company has not defined any specific sales objectives for its collaboration with BioTrove, Jaquemar expects the arrangement will contribute to Agilent's growth and says that it "fits perfectly into our plans."
BioTrove will sell complete turnkey systems—including installation and training—combining its RapidFire system with a broad offering of Agilent LC/MS systems. At the time of the announcement, Agilent was still working with BioTrove on software development for some systems and/or applications. As Agilent continues to innovate in LC/MS, new systems with even greater sensitivity, mass accuracy and speed are expected to become available.
For its part, Jon Özbal states, BioTrove is likely to hook up with other mass spec providers. "Our aim is to be very agnostic in this respect," he says. DDN