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Thermo Fisher Scientific, Owlstone Medical Collaborate on Breath Biomarker Identification, Validation

NEW YORK – Thermo Fisher Scientific and Owlstone Medical said on Thursday that they have entered into a collaborative partnership to advance the early diagnosis of cancer and other diseases through the discovery and validation of biomarkers by noninvasive breath sampling.

Thermo Fisher said that the initiative will seek to qualify its mass analyzers for the detection of new biomarkers by integrating its Q Exactive GC Hybrid Quadrupole-Orbitrap, a gas chromatography mass spectrometer (GC-MS), into Owlstone Medical's Breath Biopsy platform.

The firms are partnering to develop new analytical methods to conduct metabolomics studies of breath samples for the identification of unique biomarkers that could translate into noninvasive, routine screening products for improved early diagnosis of cancer and other diseases, Thermo Fisher said.

"The Orbitrap platform's ability to detect a wide range of chemicals during targeted and untargeted analyses, without losing selectivity or sensitivity, promises to be of substantial benefit to our Breath Biopsy platform," Billy Boyle, Cofounder and CEO of Owlstone Medical, said in a statement.

An initial project at Owlstone Medical’s Cambridge, UK, Breath Biopsy laboratory will seek to qualify the mass analyzer for the detection of new biomarkers through a validated discovery and routine analysis project. Assuming project success, the technology will become a standard part of Owlstone Medical’s biomarker discovery process, the firm said.

The firm added that it conducts metabolomic studies on breath samples for internal programs and on behalf of pharmaceutical or academic clients, to discover novel biomarkers that could translate into research and clinical tests.

Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.