Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world leader in serving science, and PREMIER Biosoft, have announced an agreement to co-market PREMIER Biosoft’s SimGlycan® software. The agreement aims to advance glycobiology by dramatically speeding the characterization of complex glycans through automated interpretation of the rich data produced by Thermo Scientific mass spectrometer systems.
Glycans—oligosaccharide or polysaccharide molecules found attached to proteins and lipids in virtually all multicellular organisms—serve essential roles in biological processes as diverse as protein folding, immune function, and energy storage. Because glycans have the potential to serve as markers for disease, and because changes to glycans in a biologically based drug can affect the drug’s function, bioinformatics tools that simplify and expedite structural elucidation of glycans are of intense interest to the scientific community and the pharmaceutical industry.
“The agreement enables Thermo Fisher Scientific to offer an integrated solution that markedly speeds glycan characterization,” said Andreas Huhmer, proteomics marketing director for life sciences mass spectrometry at Thermo Fisher Scientific. “SimGlycan software is the only glycan characterization software available today that can comprehensively analyze the high-quality MSn glycan data generated by Thermo Scientific mass spectrometers. Higher order MSn fragmentation data are essential to resolving glycan heterogeneity and isomeric forms.”
“The complex branching and isomeric nature of glycans have created significant analytical challenges for glycobiologists,” said Kay Brown, President, PREMIER Biosoft. “By co-marketing SimGlycan software with the market leader in multistage mass spectrometer systems, PREMIER Biosoft leverages a broader sales and marketing channel to address these challenges.”
Due to the sensitivity of mass spectrometers and their ability to analyze complex glycan mixtures, mass spectrometry has emerged as a powerful tool for glycan structural elucidation. However, MS-based approaches generate large volumes of data that, until the introduction of SimGlycan software, required hours or days of tedious manual interpretation. SimGlycan software automatically matches experimentally acquired mass spectra against a comprehensive database and generates a list of candidate glycan structures scored to reflect match quality. Additional, relevant biological information about the proposed glycan structure such as glycan class and biological pathway are made immediately available via interactive links.
Unlike other software, SimGlycan can process the multi-stage/sequential mass spectrometry (MSn) data produced by Thermo Scientific mass spectrometers. This unique capability aids in discriminating between glycans that have similar fragment ions at the MS/MS level, and resolves their carbohydrate distribution and branching patterns. Up to six or seven levels of fragmentation are typically needed to differentiate between glycan structural isomers.