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Q&A with Klaus Lindpaintner, CSO and VP of Thermo Fisher Scientific

ISC, a Brussels-based communication agency specializing in science, had the opportunity to interview Klaus Lindpaintner, CSO and VP of Thermo Fisher Scientific on a range of questions including key objectives, future challenges, bio-banking, and Thermo Fisher Scientific’s role in empowering science in Africa.

Q&A with Klaus Lindpaintner, CSO and VP of Thermo Fisher Scientific 1) What are Thermo Fisher Scientific’s key objectives for empowering science through analytical technologies? We are keenly aware of the critical role that analytical technologies play for any and all research, be it in the academic, governmental, industry or other public or private settings, and we understand our responsibility to provide the highest quality tools to ensure that this research yields reliable and high value results. As well, we try to live up the ever-increasing demands on the performance of analytical platforms and are therefore actively engaged in and deeply committed to substantive R&D efforts to continually improve these platforms and/or to introduce cutting edge innovation into this space. Thermo Fisher is investing close to $ ½B annually to this quest, which bears testament to how seriously we take this responsibility to our scientist-partners in all walks of life. 2) Thermo Fisher Scientific provides innovation solutions to the bio-banking community; how will Thermo Fisher Scientific support global Biobanking capacity building? Thermo Fisher provides the most comprehensive set of instruments, consumables, reagents, soft-ware, and financing instruments in the industry for biobanking, and is thus uniquely poised to create turn-key solution suites that ensure integrated functionality across all relevant workflows and the entire value chain of biobanking. As a “one-stop-shopping” provider we believe we are ideally positioned to help biobanks around the world find the best, value-optimized solutions on a case-by-case basis; therefore, we believe we have an unrivaled opportunity to make significant contributions towards supporting the biobanking community in capacity building in a fashion that guarantees the best cost-performance balance. 3) From where you are sitting, what are the immediate future challenges for academic-industry collaboration? How will Thermo Fisher Scientific contribute to addressing these challenges? I believe it is important to note that over the last decade or so very impressive progress has been achieved with regard to the openness and the spirit of cooperation and shared purpose with which academia and industry are interacting with each other on many levels; the IMI program is one prominent example, and there are many more where old barriers have fallen or at least been reduced. This has been an extremely positive development as removing such barriers is key to ultimately translate academic scientific excellence into true value for society in the sense of creating new products and/or services that are accessible to our citizens and improve their lives in a tangible fashion. Thermo Fisher Scientific, and the “enabling” industry as a whole, play a key role in this translation by creating technology platforms that are applicable to both academia and industry and allow as seamless a transition as possible; also, by maintaining strict quality standards for all of our products and services we ensure not only high quality of research output, but also facilitate the transition of such research to the industrial product development stage by expediting compliance with regulatory requirements that become critical in this environment . 4) What significant advantages does the New Generation Mass Spectroscopy technology have over the current one? Thermo Fisher Scientific’s industry leadership in high-end mass spectrometry is based on techno-logical developments that render unparalleled resolution as well as mass accuracy, and thus provide the basis for both very advanced qualitative and quantitative performance. Our next-generation instruments involving various combinations of MS analytical technologies (quadrupoles, ion-traps, and Orbitraps) which we will be unveiling at this year’s American Society of Mass Spectrometry in Minneapolis in June continue to build on these attributes and will, we believe, once again set new gold standards in the area and further empower researchers in many fields. In particular, we will be revealing sensitivity, throughput and ease of use software advances which will significantly advance laboratory productivity. For example, quantitative analysis of proteomes will improve by an order of magnitude in throughput using unique multiplexing technologies, which allow many experiments to be run in parallel. Unique technology to solve the most vexing problem in metabolomics – the identification of hundreds of currently unknown molecules in human biological samples – will also be presented. 5) What are the current research and development trends in analytical technologies and what do you see as the “killer” application? A variety of different current and future trends can be observed on different levels and/or are expected to take place in the mid- and longer term: For one, there is an on-going trend towards miniaturization (including the amount/volume of samples needed for analysis) and automation, coupled with more user-friendly interfaces and greater speed of measurement, thus allowing increasingly the deployment of “point-of-use” testing (“point-of-care” in the clinical setting) – these may well represent the near-term next generation of “killer applications”. Inherent in this is advanced data management, processing, and computation – much of it will likely require innovative approaches to data storage, handling, and analysis such as remote or aggregative (cloud/crowd) technology. On the level of clinical analysis, i.e. diagnostic testing, we will see increasingly the emergence of multi-analyte panels (rather than single analytes) as the information-carriers; and, in due course, of multi-class, multi-analyte panels that combine, e.g. DNA and protein analysis for a given condition in an algorithm-driven approach; thus, the computational-biology task of developing these algorithms will be an important element of this trend as well, as will be non-conventional paradigms to biostatistics and clinical marker validation. Powerful algorithm-based multi-analyte panel tests certainly will be “killer” applications in the biomedical sector (although we probably should not be using the term in this context…). Another trend in analytical technology as applied to clinical testing that we foresee is the eventual move away, for the determination of many analytes, from immuno-based test to mass spectrometry-based tests, which will provide a quantum leap in specificity. On yet a different and more fundamental level, in the field of analytics a dominant trend over its history has been the drive for both greater accuracy and sensitivity of measurements. This will, eventually, require and result in a move towards “unity” based approaches – i.e. single molecule analysis and digital counting instead of analog quantification, and single cell analysis as opposed to analysis of inherently heterogeneous tissues or cell aggregates. This change will greatly enhance signal-to-noise ratios and allow a level of highly differentiated measurements that has so far been elusive. In the area of next-generation-sequencing-based transcriptome expression analysis, however, we are already witnessing this happening. 6) You will speak at the conference “Global Collaboration, Global Challenges” (GC2) in Addis Ababa in June. How do you see Thermo Fisher Scientific empowering science in Africa? Thermo Fisher Scientific has a deeply rooted and longstanding commitment to proactive engagement in emerging and developing economies and nations, and we view many of the countries in Africa as being currently at the stage of where their entrance onto the global stage not only as consumers, but also as contributors to science is expected to take place in the foreseeable future. Thermo Fisher has been present on the continent for many years, providing products and services to both the clinical/research and the industrial sectors (such as the mining industry); we are experiencing significant business growth in Africa, and are poised to increase our presence as opportunities arise. In particular, coming back to an earlier question, a currently unfolding rising interest in Biobanking – which, given the unparalleled diversity of the African genome is of course a unique opportunity, e.g. in the context of international, pan-African initiatives, such as the H3Africa project—is an area where we look forward to actively supporting African research and scientists. 7) The European Union and the US have committed to establishing a free trade zone and are currently exploring how to do this: what are the regulatory challenges facing science cooperation from your perspective? Could you also comment on the related global challenges? While it is, at this point, too early to comment specifically on the ramifications that the signing of such an agreement will have on any sector, it is probably fair to say – simply by extrapolation from the impact of having had a European Free Trade zone now for many years—that the net effect, on many different levels, will overall be one that facilitates not only commerce, but greatly empowers scientific exchange and cooperation as well. From the perspective of our industry, it will help address cross-boundary standardization and common-language-of-science challenges, and create more of a “commons” culture of scientific endeavor, and thus help the global community of science to develop ever stronger connective ties – and thus become more successful and effective. Media Enquiries Jessica Hadjis ISC Intelligence in Science Email: Phone: +32 2 88 88 110 Mob: +32 487 163 107 Editor’s Note Klaus Lindpaintner Biography: Klaus Lindpaintner, MD, MPH, FACP is CSO and VP at Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world’s leading provider of enabling, innovation-driven analytical instruments, reagents, and services to industry, academia, and the public sector in the pursuit of a healthier, safer, and cleaner world. Previously, he held senior positions at F. Hoffman-La Roche, where he spearheaded the company’s efforts in personalized health care and was responsible for the respective activities in translational research that re-branded the company’s image over the last decade; at SDIX, a specialty antibody-focused biotechnology company; and on the faculty of Harvard Medical School. In addition, he is the principal at bio-banks consulting llc. Klaus has co-authored more than 250 scientific papers, and currently holds honorary and adjunct professorships at several academic institutions, including Stanford, University of London, and Jiao Tong University in Shanghai. He serves on numerous boards, working groups, and advisory panels for trade organizations, regulatory authorities and non-governmental organizations on issues related to the successful implementation and leverage of novel technologies in applied biomedical research, and, as a matter of personal commitment, the ethical and societal impact of these technologies. Klaus graduated from Innsbruck University Medical School with a degree in medicine and from Harvard University with a degree in public health. He pursued post-graduate training and specialization in internal medicine, cardiology, and clinical and molecular genetics in the US and Germany, and is a Diplomat of the Board in these specialties. In his private life, he is an avid high-altitude mountaineer, photographer, and husband to his internist-geriatrician wife and father to his two daughters. Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO) is the world leader in serving science. Their mission is to enable their customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. They serve customers within pharmaceutical and biotech companies, hospitals and clinical diagnostic labs, universities, research institutions and government agencies, as well as in environmental and process control industries. Further information:


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