Bruker acquires NAT assays to expand MALDI Biotyper platform

Bruker's MALDI Biotyper platform

Bruker has acquired nucleic acid testing (NAT) assays and syndromic panel technology to expand its MALDI Biotyper platform.

The firm bought selected assets in Glasgow, UK for the development, validation and commercialization of molecular assays for applications in microbiology.

It includes lab infrastructure and IP in the NAT assay field, including real-time PCR assays for microbiology.

Bruker did not disclose the price and would not tell us who it acquired the NAT assays from.

Expand PCR assays over time

Dr Wolfgang Pusch, EVP for clinical MALDI Solutions at Bruker Daltonics, said the first priority is clinical microbiology for real-time PCR activities but a second phase will involve molecular testing in the food and beverage industry.

He added that with the MALDI Biotyper for proteomic profiling it is working in food and beverage testing and the technology is gaining increasing momentum.

Over time we will expand our PCR assay menu also to other fields. Food and beverage testing is in general a field where we see further potential to grow with our MALDI Biotyper platform.”

The MALDI Biotyper offers microbial identification with broad species coverage, based on proteomic fingerprinting.

Classification and identification of microorganisms is achieved using proteomic fingerprinting by high-throughput MALDI-TOF (Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Time of Flight) mass spectrometry. 

Dr Pusch said this is typically done after cultivation on an agar plate and then a single colony is picked and analyzed in the MALDI Biotyper in less than one minute.

“Compared to conventional biochemical identification techniques this approach saves roughly one day. With targeted PCR approaches the user can already start the analysis prior to the cultivation step,” he said.

“Targeted nucleic acid based analysis and untargeted proteomic profiling analysis address different market segments in microbiology. We will add real-time PCR assays to our product portfolio to address such different segments of the market.

“Additionally, we will develop PCR assays with a read-out via the MALDI Biotyper. This allows for a higher degree of multiplexing than conventional real-time PCR.”

Bruker has hired a 14-strong R&D, operations and commercial team in Glasgow to drive PCR-based syndromic panel development for the MALDI Biotyper platform.  

Syndromic panels are PCR panels used for the analysis of certain infections. A broad spectrum of microorganisms or viruses might cause very similar symptoms. Syndromic panels identify and possibly rule out potential causative agents for such diseases.

The firm said when a rapid, targeted answer is required without prior microbial cultivation, multiplex PCR assays for identification of selected bacterial, fungal and viral species, and for fast detection of resistance genes, are complementary to broad-coverage, untargeted proteomic identification from isolates after overnight culture.

MALDI-TOF M/S potential

Bruker said in many European and international laboratories the MALDI Biotyper has replaced classical biochemical testing for bacterial identification. 

Classical biochemical techniques detect different metabolic properties of microorganisms, can take many hours or even days for completion and often lack specificity, it added.

MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry is the gold standard for microbial identification in clinical microbiology, said Dr Pusch.

“In food testing the technology is also getting increasingly traction. A lot of water testing is done by MALDI-TOF, but also especially in beverage and dairy testing the technology is getting momentum.

“For food spoilage analysis the MALDI Biotyper has the advantage of being able to analyze also isolates from species that are difficult with other approaches.”

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