Disruptive 2D Mass Spectrometry spinout secures seed investment

A new technique from Warwick University spinout Verdel Instruments Ltd makes the advanced 2D Mass Spectrometry process accessible outside academia for the first time. Designed by world-leading researchers, this is the first benchtop instrument with 2DMS capability.  It quickly and efficiently delivers high quality structural analysis and sequencing of every component in a complex mixture at the same time.

How the new technique works

Verdel’s disruptive 2DMS technology employs electric pulses to manipulate ions in a linear ion trap before fragmentation to enable parallel acquisition of mass spectra, which operates in combination with UV laser-based fragmentation and a fast mass analyser such as a time-of-flight.

This data independent analysis (DIA) technique offers far better specificity, sensitivity, and speed in sample analysis than current techniques in routine use.

Currently, complex samples run on liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry instruments used in the pharmaceutical industry require long run times, sometimes in the region of 90 minutes. If anomalies are found in the data, the run can be extended by an additional 180 minutes.

With 2DMS, only a single 20-minute analysis is required. The new technique from Verdel Instruments Ltd enables researchers to analyse multiple complex samples in one go, with all the data produced in parallel – something that has previously been impossible.

The revolutionary technology makes pharmaceutical research and food safety testing more accurate, at least ten times quicker than at present, and allows higher throughput analyses.

It will be particularly advantageous for sample types which are water insoluble and pressure sensitive.

Professor Pete O’Connor – Director of Verdel Instruments Ltd, Professor of Analytical Chemistry at the University of Warwick and a leading global voice in the field of 2DMS – commented:
“Two-dimensional mass spectrometry is an incredible tool that allows researchers to get structural information from mixtures of components. We have been working on 2DMS for about 8 years using an expensive, high-resolution mass spectrometer, and have now solved some key issues to enable its broader uptake as a benchtop instrument.

“We have done analysis of small pharmaceutical and agrichemical molecules, sequenced multiple complex protein or peptides, complex polymer distributions, monoclonal antibodies, proteomics samples, and whole proteins, and are currently working to expand the capabilities into environmental testing, petroleum analysis, food-safety, and clinical analysis.”

Verdel is developing 2DMS on an inexpensive linear ion trap coupled with a very fast time-of-flight mass spectrometer, greatly expanding the reach of the technique into new markets. We are now looking to work with pharmaceutical companies to analyse samples and test the technology.”

Longwall Venture Partners, an Oxford-based venture capital company, invested £100,000 of this seed round.
David Denny, Partner at Longwall Ventures and now Director of Verdel, commented:
“We are excited to back Pete O’Connor’s team during this feasibility stage to develop, for the first time, a cost-effective and easy to use, routine, benchtop mass spectrometry instrument with a wide linear range at a time when the market is about USD 4 billion and rapidly growing.”

The innovative 2DMS method was developed at the University of Warwick, and the institution remains an active collaborator with Verdel. Warwick Ventures commercialises innovations from leading research at the University of Warwick and creates spin-out companies.
Dr Shum Prakash, Business Development Manager at Warwick Ventures commented:
“We are delighted to bring cutting-edge technology and globally recognised expertise on two-dimensional mass spectrometry out of the research laboratory to enable the spin-out to reach its full potential.”
“The combination of Warwick’s intellectual property and seed investment with Longwall Ventures’ expertise in scaling high growth instrumentation businesses will now allow Verdel Instruments to develop 2DMS to deliver significant benefits for users.”

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