ZIM cooperation network launched to research MS-based proteomics technologies

The recently approved ZIM cooperation network "Proteomics4Future" had its official kick-off via an interactive online meeting on 03.12.2021. The network pursues the central goal of helping mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics to accelerate its industrial dissemination through new methods and standardisation of workflows, from which, among others, developers of new pharmaceutical agents will benefit. The network is funded by the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It brings together a new generation of technology companies consisting of innovators in the fields of protein sample preparation, laboratory automation, protein analytics and MS data analysis.

Industrialisation and standardisation of MS-based proteomics - this is the full title behind the name Proteomics4Future. Funding is provided within the "Central Innovation Programme for SMEs" (ZIM) programme of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Proteomics methods have undergone rapid development in recent years with the increasing availability of modern LC-MS/MS instruments and are becoming more and more important, especially in the pharmaceutical industry, for example in target-independent drug discovery and in the development and production of modern biotherapeutics. In the future, proteomics methods will moreover have increasing importance in the growing field of personalised medicine, enabling more effective, safer and more cost-efficient therapies. However, industrialised use and large-scale application in clinical trials and routine diagnostics currently face challenges in terms of user-friendliness, sensitivity, robustness, costs and standardisation.

The ZIM cooperation network Proteomics4Future brings together players from all areas along the value chain of MS-based proteomics. Within the framework of cooperative development projects, the participating companies and research institutions aim to create solutions through developments for existing issues in industry and medicine. The range goes from standardised technologies for sample preparation to AI-based methods for data analysis. New applications should be made available and existing limitations reduced. Routine procedures should make results more reliable, faster and more cost-effective. Automation of these laboratory processes, in particular sample handling and processing, is envisaged in the network as a further lever for these attributes.

Members of the network are: MSAID GmbH, OmicScouts GmbH, PreOmics GmbH, A&M Labor für Analytik und Metabolismusforschung Service GmbH, Alithea Bio UG, Cellzome GmbH, EpiQMax GmbH, Hamilton Bonaduz AG, Hahn-Schickard-Gesellschaft für angewandte Forschung e.V., Mannheim University of Applied Sciences (CeMOS), Immatics and the Technical University of Munich (Institute of General Pathology and Pathological Anatomy).

The network management points out that the network is open to further partners. Interested companies and research institutions that would like to participate in R&D projects and can contribute complementary expertise are just as welcome as potential users of the newly developed solutions.