How to Choose a Mass Spec for BioPharma

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How to Choose a Mass Spec for BioPharma

Team TFS
Team TFS

shutterstock_286107416It’s always enjoyable and interesting when speaking to BioPharma customers about how they decide on which mass spectrometric (MS) platform to select. In fact, it seldom seems to be one single platform when increasingly complex biologics require targeted quantitation, peptide mapping and intact mass analysis – some people choose multiple different platforms for these specific tasks.

Even when specific MS techniques are chosen, there can be a mind boggling array of further choices once the technologies which best suits customers’ individual needs have been identified (I mean, there is the sample preparation, separation and data interpretation and management to consider too!).

I’ve seen extensive and sometimes beautifully complex spreadsheets (I’m a self-confessed excel geek) comparing specifications with ingenious scoring and weighting systems, through to tenders with an almost endless list of check boxes to fill. This almost seems like a game of cards when we consider the most popular choices for BioPharma analyses!

The increasing demands of the modern biopharmaceutical laboratory, combined with tighter budgets, and more challenging biologics leads to the need to utilize the most innovative technologies and the set of cards that gives you a full house!

Q: Should this be a game where vendors determine the rules, or one where customers’ needs are listened to and put first?

A: Of course, it is a rhetorical question. Customer needs and requirements are paramount and should always be put first!

Historically, BioPharma customers have hedged their bets and invested in both Orbitrap and TOF based MS platforms to provide ultimate flexibility and cover all of the types of analysis required: but this poses problems: Two (or more) different platforms to learn, different software packages to master and the need to bring it all together into some form of sensible outcome!

To go from sample to knowledge using a single MS platform is no longer a fairy tale, it is a reality!

Orbitrap technology has a pedigree when it comes to peptide mapping, and intact mass analysis can now be added to this. But what sets it apart from other intact-capable MS platforms?

    • No need to deglycosylate before performing ‘native’ analyses = simpler intact workflow and see the complete, unaltered picture providing unique structural insights
    • No need to work across multiple platforms = streamlined biopharmaceutical characterization
    • No need to work out which piece of software does what = one powerful, yet simple data analysis software package to learn
    • No more worrying about lock-masses or multi-layered calibrations and protracted application switching = simple set up - it just works

There is power in a workflow -- there is even more power in a flexible workflow. It’s the ace up your sleeve.

To ensure that one single platform is able to meet the demands of the top three protein characterization workflows, the Thermo Scientific™ Q Exactive™ BioPharma platform has been optimized to deliver superior denatured and native MS intact analysis with the high mass range (HMR) mode, sub-unit and top/middle-down analysis with Protein Mode and peptide mapping with Standard mode.

Add to this the Thermo Scientific™ Vanquish™ UHPLC System, a fully biocompatible UHPLC with unparalleled retention time stability, and fast, simple to learn Thermo Scientific™ BioPharma Finder™ software, providing unique data visualization tools and the capabilities to optimize experimental parameters in real-time, and you will see that you have a system which far exceeds the requirements and challenges that you are faced with. Make sure you come to the game of cards with the odds stacked in your favour!


Additional Resources

Enabling Mass Spectrometric Analysis of Intact Proteins in Native Conditions on A Hybrid Quadrupole-...
Scheffler K, Damoc E, Bailey A, Josephs J.
Full Characterization of Heterogeneous Antibody Samples Under Denaturing and Native Conditions on a ...

Scheffler K, Damoc E, Sutton J, Bailey A, Houel S, Josephs J.
Complete Characterization of a Cysteine-linked Antibody-Drug Conjugate Performed on a Hybrid Quadrup...
Bailey A, Damoc E, Houel S, Scheffler K, Josephs J.