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From »The Analytical Scientist« (Issue 14, March 2014). (03/14). "Mass Collaboration. With more than 150 Mass Spectrometry-oriented Business Deals in 2013, It Can Be Hard to Find Method in the Madness".

Organisations Organisation [iito] Business Intelligence
  Organisation 2 BGI (CN) (Group)
Products Product mass spectrometry (MS)
  Product 2 gas generator (laboratory)
Index terms Index term Agilent–Shimadzu: chromatography data system, 201305 collab product integration exchange of instrument drivers for LabSolutions + OpenLab CDS
  Index term 2 Schlumberger–908 Devices: mass spectometry, 201308– multi-year collab + developm agreem to apply HPMS technology to applications in oil + gas industry
Person Person Lippold, Marcus ([iito] Business Intelligence 2002–)

With more than 150 mass spectrometry-oriented business deals in 2013, it can be hard to find method in the madness. Here, I highlight nine key agreements that indicate strategic trends.

By Marcus Lippold

The plethora of business collaborations announced in 2013 illustrates that mass spectrometry is riding high at present. From around 150 deals struck last year, I've selected nine that highlight interesting business strategies. The selection is neither based on the total value of the deal nor on the market importance of the partners involved; instead, I have chosen them to provide pointers as to where the industry is heading over the next few years.

Deal 1

When: January 2013
Who: TRANSLOCATION project, part of the EU Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) & Bruker
What: Antibiotics research – Bruker Daltonik is a partner in this €30m project

Deal 2

When: March 2013
Who: AB Sciex & LECO
What: LC/MS and GC/MS – Co-marketing to metabolomics researchers

Deal 3

When: April 2013
Who: Becton Dickinson & Bruker
What: MALDI Biotyper – Expansion of collaboration

Deal 4

When: May 2013
Who: Agilent & Shimadzu
What: Chromatography instrument drivers – Exchange of drivers to allow choice of instrumentation, regardless of the chromatography data system (CDS) used

Deal 5

When: June 2013
Who: JEOL & Premier Biosoft
What: MALDIVision software – Co-marketing with JEOL's JMS-S3000 SpiralTOF

Deal 6

When: June 2013
Who: Focused Photonics & Ionics
What: LC/MS/MS systems – Distribution of Ionics' systems in China, including service and support

Deal 7

When: August 2013
Who: Schlumberger & 908 Devices
What: High Pressure Mass Spectrometry (HP-MS) – Multi-year collaboration and development agreement for applications in the oil and gas industry

Deal 8

When: September 2013
Who: Bruker & Peak Scientific
What: Gas Generators – Peak to be original equipment manufacturer for GC-MS and LC-MS systems

Deal 9

When: December 2013
Who: BGI & Metabolomic Technologies
What: Metabolomic Clinical Tests – Collaboration to develop assay for Chinese market

Data taken from, originally from publicly announced agreements and sorted by date.

1. Bruker jumped into Europe's €30m TRANSLOCATION IMI project ( translocation) to increase understanding of antibiotics and multi-resistant bacteria. Despite being one of 25 participants in the project, which is led by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Jacobs University Bremen, Bruker's involvement illustrates the new opportunities for MS firms to participate in research consortiums sponsored fully or in part by the EU. As MS moves into the clinic, MS firms will increasingly be welcomed into government-funded research projects that address diagnostic or therapeutic needs.

2. The agreement between AB Sciex (LC-MS) and Leco (GC-MS) to co- market their instruments to European and North American metabolomics researchers is a classic case of complementary product portfolios that could be sold to the same customer group. With more complex research fields like metabolomics and systems biology gaining prominence, such collaborations are increasingly common. The deals are easy to implement and not strategically difficult as long as products or technologies are simply marketed to the customer without specific bundling and product integration.

3. BD Diagnostics, a segment of Becton, Dickinson & Co., announced an international distributor agreement with Bruker Daltonics to sell and provide front-line technical support for the co-labeled BD Bruker MALDI Biotyper System. Bruker has been an early-mover in the clinical diagnostic application of MS with its MALDI Biotyper. However, while it has built up a well-balanced and broad portfolio of analytical instruments, it is missing the direct access to the clinical diagnostics market that Agilent (Dako), Thermo (Brahms, Finnzymes, Life Technologies, One Lambda) and Danaher (AB Sciex sister companies include Beckman Coulter, Leica Biosystems, and Kreatech) possess. Bruker faces the choice of relying on external partners with an established footprint in the diagnostics market, acquiring a relevant player or merging with a major player in the MS clinical diagnostics market, such as bioMe´rieux.

4. Agilent and Shimadzu announced that they would exchange instrument drivers. Through this exchange, Shimadzu LabSolutions and Agilent OpenLAB Chromatography Data Systems (CDS) will control each other's instruments, offering customers more freedom of choice in instrumentation, regardless of which CDS they use. The deal is reflective of a major issue: balancing marketing strategies and customer demands. Some customers, for example, analytical labs who do standard MS analysis with validated methods, need easy-to-use, integrated and validated systems and methods as turn-key solutions; others, for example, researchers in academia, want to combine their preferred instruments to build systems that fit their specific needs. Integration by the seller may be detrimental by locking the buyer in, while flexibility for the buyer brings a higher total cost (acquisition plus ownership), the hassle of dealing with multiple providers, and the need to validate methods across analytical systems. Overall, deals that promote open standards seem to benefit the majority. Furthermore, open standards make ever-growing giants of the market, like Thermo and Danaher, look a little less threatening to smaller players and help gain favor with antitrust authorities around the world.

When looking for something interesting, there is a tendency to focus on "new and exciting." However, to maintain real perspective, it can be useful to look for patterns that continue from the past and seem likely to persist in the future. The next two deals fall into this category.

5. JEOL announced a co-marketing agreement for Premier Biosoft's MALDIVision software and JEOL's JMS-S300 SpiralTOF for MALDI imaging. Similar agreements have been announced by IonSense and Cerno Bioscience, as well as Bruker with SciLS and ImaBiotech. All of these deals reflect the importance of data integration and analysis and the fact that software development is a market with relatively small barriers to entry. There is always the potential for a new company to develop a fantastic new software solution and partnering early is likely to be a useful strategy. Possibly the most important deal of 2013 in this area was not a collaboration but the acquisition of Nonlinear Dynamics by Waters.

6. Instrument firms can also benefit from selective marketing and distribution partnerships to increase their reach. One example of a high-tech firm entering a developing market is the agreement between Canadian firm Ionics and China-based Focused Photonics for the latter to distribute and service Ionics' LC-MS/MS systems in China. Small technology leaders in niche markets usually don't have the resources to build up their own worldwide marketing and services network via subsidiaries and must rely on global distribution and service partners.

7.If one thing is certain, it is that there will be ever-smaller mass spectrometers. In April, Microsaic announced an OEM deal to supply its 4000 MiD instrument as a standalone system for specific applications to an undisclosed customer. This agreement represents a simple option: to provide a separate system for specific uses. Another deal, between 908 Devices and Schlumberger, takes the idea one step further by integrating the miniaturized MS into a larger system, so the MS itself "disappears". Schlumberger and 908 Devices intend to develop applications for the oil and gas industry. In addition to Microsaic and 908 Devices, 1st Detect (Astrotech) and Advion have miniaturized MS systems on the market.

8. Peak Scientific has been supplying gas generators to MS producers for a long time (among them Bruker), but the official announcement that Peak is becoming an exclusive OEM supplier for Bruker's GC-MS range raises an interesting parallel with HPLC systems. Up until five years ago there were several independent (U)HPLC system suppliers. Although there were some preferred supplier agreements, the market was very open. Then, in February 2010, AB Sciex acquired Eksigent; two months later, Thermo acquired Proxeon and then bought Dionex; finally, in February 2011, Bruker took over Michrom. All of the major independent providers were gone. Today the gas generator market space includes several independent suppliers. Could a first bold acquisition by one of the big five MS companies trigger a similar deal chain to the one that changed the HPLC landscape?

9. China-based BGI (fomerly Beijing Genomics Institute), the world's largest DNA sequencing center, is developing metabolomic cancer tests with Metabolomic Technologies Inc. (MTI), a Canadian company, for the Chinese market. Current MTI assays are based on an NMR platform, while an improved version is being developed on an MS platform. The MTI website states that, "BGI also has a large expertise in mass spectrometry and will be an important part of MTI's scientific evolution." This collaboration is small, but bear in mind that BGI started as a DNA sequencing services provider out of China, but now has operations in Europe, Japan and the US, in addition to acquiring the US-based genome sequencing technology firm Complete Genomics in March 2013.

Marcus Lippold is an Economist and Head of [iito] Business Intelligence as well as Editor-in-Chief of, the free business web portal for the worldwide mass spectrometry industry. [iito] Business Intelligence is based in Bremen, Germany.

[ This article has been taken from the March 2014 Issue of »The Analytical Scientist«. You can read the original version and more articles with insights into analytical topics online at (free registration required) ]

Record changed: 2019-06-09


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