Tecan Annual Report
Tecan Annual Report

Scaling proteomics at the heart of healthcare

Proteomics is transforming healthcare by enabling precise and personalized medicine for diagnoses, treatments, and post-treatment monitoring. It covers a wide range of applications, from simple hormone measurements to chronic cancer management. However, to integrate proteomics into mainstream patient care, it is crucial to scale and simplify the technology. This demands easy-to-use, walk-away platforms that can rapidly and reliably process numerous clinical samples.

Proteomic workflows increasingly rely on mass spectrometry, which requires extensive sample preparation and has limited throughput when done manually. This manual process is burdensome, error-prone and complex. To make mass spectrometry more accessible, the automation of sample preparation has become essential to meet the increasing demand for higher throughput and reproducible results.

Tecan has successfully integrated essential extraction and sample processing technologies that are compatible with mass spectrometry. This includes positive pressure workstations and clinical sample preparation protocols, protein sample prep and methods such as solid-phase extraction (SPE), dilute-and-shoot (D&S) and liquid-liquid extraction (LLE).

In 2024 Tecan launches the Resolvex® i300, a fully integrated positive pressure module for solid phase extraction (SPE) and filtration for automated mass spectrometry sample preparation on the Fluent® Automation Workstation. Designed for use in various fields, this innovative solution will play a vital part in proteomics workflows, helping to accelerate our understanding of disease mechanisms, identify disease biomarkers and develop targeted therapies.

Tecan, through its OEM partnering program, also offers tailored automation solutions that combine precise liquid handling with advanced extraction technologies. By utilizing Tecan's platforms and pre-approved modules and customizing them, innovative diagnostic platforms can be developed and brought to market quickly. One such example is the collaboration with the Thermo Fisher-owned company The Binding Site, a UK-based diagnostics company specializing in blood cancers and immune disorders, to develop a strategy for monitoring precancerous conditions associated with Multiple Myeloma (MM), the second most prevalent blood cancer worldwide. Following treatment, MM patients exhibit minimal residual disease (a lower number of malignant cells), which indicates treatment success.

The Binding Site's new method increases sensitivity to detect a critical protein (M-protein) by a substantial factor compared to traditional methods. With remarkable treatment successes in recent years, many patients are achieving M-protein concentrations below detectable limits using standard techniques. However, differences in disease progression persist within this group.

The collaborative approach demonstrated by Tecan and The Binding Site resulted in the successful launch of the IVDR-certified EXENT Solution platform in 2023, within a shorter timeframe than expected if designed from scratch. The EXENT® Solution answers the unmet clinical need for more sensitive analytical methods that can differentiate between subsets, without initiating invasive bone marrow biopsy techniques too early.

To address this issue, a method using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry was developed to enable more sensitive detection of serum M-proteins during patient monitoring. This method involved complex sample preparation, including immunoglobulin extraction. The Fluent 780 Automation Workstation was rapidly adapted during the development phase to automate nearly all manual steps in the workflow. This automation significantly improved accuracy and sensitivity in mass spectroscopy results, surpassing traditional methods like gel electrophoresis.

The ability of mass spectrometry to detect post-translational modifications opens possibilities for broader clinical applications in the future. EXENT sets a remarkable precedent for user-friendly, walk-away, end-to-end solutions in proteome profiling.