Thermo Fisher Scientific's Precision Medicine Science Center (PMSC) has launched collaborations with AstraZeneca and the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) to showcase new workflows designed to improve clinical biomarker analysis. [ ©John Still for Thermo Fisher Scientific]

Thermo Fisher Scientific said today its Thermo Fisher Precision Medicine Science Center (PMSC) has launched collaborations with AstraZeneca and the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) to showcase new workflows designed to improve clinical biomarker analysis.

The new partnerships—whose value was not disclosed— are intended to bolster the PMSC’s mission of creating standardized workflows with pharma and academic partners, with the goal of enhancing precision medicine by streamlining the transition from biomarker research to clinical implementation.

“The goal of the Precision Medicine Science Center is to construct end-to-end workflow solutions that generate impactful data from discovery studies with large human cohorts and to harness the power of molecular profiling to improve the outcomes of patient care,” Emily Chen, senior director, Precision Medicine Science Center with Thermo Fisher Scientific, said in a statement. “Our ongoing work with AstraZeneca and the University of Nebraska Medical Center are paramount to realizing the potential of these technologies.”

Thermo Fisher Scientific said it will use standardized plasma protein profiling workflows in ongoing and planned studies with both AstraZeneca and UNMC. The standardized workflows will consist of automated sample preparation for untargeted and targeted methods in combination with the Thermo Scientific Orbitrap Exploris 480 and Thermo Scientific Orbitrap Exploris 240 mass spectrometers.

The workflows will also include Thermo Fisher’s newly-developed ultra-high throughput plasma protein profiling (uHTPPP) workflow, designed for biomarker discovery under a variety of conditions.

“This collaboration aims to evaluate and establish a model for clinical proteomics, using advanced sample processing and downstream analytical applications, that has the potential to help us identify new drug targets and biomarkers,” stated Ventzi Hristova, senior scientist, dynamic omics, antibody discovery and protein engineering, R&D at AstraZeneca.

UNMC is collaborating with Thermo Fisher’s PMSC to use the company’s standardized plasma protein profiling workflows to analyze clinical samples in an aneurysm study. The study is supported by the NIH’s National Institutes of Health-National Institute on Aging (NIH-NIA), and is being conducted with Vanderbilt University, the University of Maryland, and the University of Wisconsin.

“Thermo Fisher’s mass spectrometry platform and workflow will allow us to analyze a large cohort of plasma samples and answer highly significant clinical questions,” said Merry Lindsey, Ph.D., chair and stokes-shackleford professor, department of cellular and integrative physiology, director, center for heart and vascular research, UNMC. “As a cardiovascular physiologist and proteomics expert, I am a bridge between mass spectrometry analyses and the clinical world and am very interested to see the results from this collaboration.”

The NIH-NIA aneurysm study is being led by Bernard Timothy Baxter, M.D., professor, department of surgery division of vascular surgery, UNMC: “There is a drastic need for this type of technology that can produce better indicators/blood tests and can tell us who has an undiagnosed aneurysm, and which aneurysms are likely to progress rapidly and need closer observation.”

“Clinically, the current treatment plan for abdominal aortic aneurysms is to watch and wait. We image and when aneurysms reach a certain size threshold, we surgically repair them,” Baxter added. “Unfortunately, there are a number of patients who first realize there is a problem when they present with a ruptured aneurysm — the mortality in this situation exceeds 50%.”

Thermo Fisher Scientific opened the PMSC in 2018 in Cambridge, MA, with a focus on advancing the company’s precision medicine efforts with companies and medical centers by offering them access to advanced “omics” technologies and expertise to help them translate biomarker discoveries into new assays.

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