Today, Advion announced that during the year ending December 31, 2017, the company sold 58 units of its expression Compact Mass Spectrometer (CMS) per quarter, totaling a milestone of over 700 orders of the instrument. Advion, a leading provider of synthetic organic, natural product and peptide discovery chemistry mass spectrometry (MS) solutions, unveiled the single quadrupole CMS in 2011 for chemistry applications such as real-time reaction monitoring, mass confirmations of flash fractions and LC/MS. The system was awarded the 2012 Silver IBO Industrial Design Award for its unique portability, appealing aesthetics and affordability.
According to David Patteson, CEO and president of Advion, the expression CMS was originally designed for chemists to aid them in their workflows. “We saw an unmet need for mass-directed purification in the flash chromatography market and, more generally, to address the frustration chemists encounter waiting in line for analysis at a central facility,” explained Mr. Patteson. “They wanted fast answers and we saw the opportunity to provide a solution with a compact, affordable, simple-to-use MS that could sit on their bench, right next to where they were performing their reactions.” Beyond the expression CMS’ portability, the instrument also includes features that ensure a user-friendly work process. “In addition to a compact system, we have provided [users] a versatile array of simple sample inlets, such as direct probe analysis and TLC-CMS (Thin Layer Chromatography-CMS) that greatly simplify MS assays and have improved their workflow,” Mr. Patteson added.
The expression CMS took over four years to develop, with Advion ensuring that the instrument met the needs of chemists. “We designed the CMS specifically for the chemist: small footprint so it can fit in their fume hood or on their bench, easy-to-use software to switch effortlessly between several techniques, and we put a lot of thought into the layout of the I/O, vacuum hoses, ion source, etc. for easy access,” said Mr. Patteson.
The expression CMS can be used for specific or general applications, depending on the user’s needs, due to its sheer versatility, according to Mr. Patteson. “If it’s reaction monitoring, or flow chemistry, or purification, or quantitative LC/MS that our customer needs, or a mixture of all of these, our team will work with them to ensure the system is flawlessly adapted to their applications,” he said. Able to switch between direct injection, TLC plates, liquids and solids probe, or air-sensitive compounds, the expression CMS’ flexibility has afforded it a broad scope of applications for which it can be useful in, Mr. Patteson noted. “This [maximum flexibility] is what has boosted the CMS as the hub of a high-volume lab—the ability for multiple users to adapt the system to suit their own application needs,” he said. “In solving many issues, the CMS appealed to other markets beyond organic chemistry, and so it is also [for] general use.”
As Mr. Patteson stated, while the expression CMS was originally designed to target synthetic organic and process development chemists, the instrument’s versatility in its design and technical features make it an ideal tool for other applications, such as such as food and beverage, pharmaceutical, biomedical, peptides and proteins, and drug discovery testing. “Other applications we have deliberately targeted with new product development include a higher mass range CMS for biomedical applications and the analysis of peptides and proteins,” said Mr. Patteson. “Our recently released range of Avant (U)HPLC systems is driving us into markets with higher analytical requirements so we can meet both the screening needs of applications such as food and beverage applications, and the quantitative needs for the pharmaceutical industry.”
Although the expression CMS remains most popular for reaction monitoring by chemists, specifically in academia, Advion is continuing to see demand for the instrument in diverse markets, according to Mr. Patteson. “Recent product releases are helping us expand into pharmaceutical and other industrial markets,” he continued. “We are also starting to sell into clinical and food safety areas and the fast growing cannabis market.”
Advion’s milestone achievement of nearly 750 expression CMS units shipped included 30 units sold in Japan in 2017 and 9 unit sales in China in the fourth quarter of 2017, indicating the instrument’s wide appeal and global reach. In 2015, Advion was acquired by Bohui Innovation Technology, a publicly traded Chinese firm that develops, manufactures and supplies diagnostics systems, and, according to Mr. Patteson, the acquisition has helped grow the company’s worldwide presence and impact. “The partnership has increased our global footprint, giving Advion sales in China an unprecedented boost,” he said. “Both the expansion of product opportunities and extended reach are advantages that would not be possible without the support of Bohui.”
The acquisition also aided Advion in expanding its reach into various markets, and with Bohui Innovation Technology’s backing and additional resources, the company is working on bring more innovative instruments to the forefront of scientific research. “The acquisition was strategic for both companies and has provided great opportunity for us to leverage Bohui’s core business, allowing for expanded efforts in life science, clinical diagnostic and food safety applications,” said Mr. Patteson. “Not only has it brought additional opportunities for the CMS in these markets, but has also provided our team [with] resources for new research and development of systems that specifically target these markets—systems that you will see come to market this year.”