Two weeks back, our team attended the 64th Conference on Mass Spectrometry and Allied Topics (ASMS). At these events, networking can happen anywhere, at any time. In fact, one of our most memorable networking experiences took place in an elevator, of all places! As a 908 employee, who was wearing a branded shirt, stepped into the elevator, a passenger quickly turned to him and asked, “how’s that chip thing going?” Another rider promptly replied, “I have one of those. That thing is great!”. Wow did that energize us! We enjoyed so many positive reactions and meaningful conversations over the week of activities this year.
We had no doubt that the event would be valuable for us, as it is attended by more than 6,500 scientists, professors, students and opinion leaders within the mass spec (MS) community. Although we’ve attended ASMS in the past, this year was especially noteworthy for us, as it was the first year we displayed our full line of solutions: M908™, G908™ and ZipChip™.
ZipChip Takes Center Stage
In addition to showcasing our product offerings, ASMS provided the ideal venue to announce our collaboration with Thermo Fisher Scientific. We had a strong joint presence and were able to show off our ZipChip and discuss its ability to work with their Exactive, Q Exactive and LTQ Orbitrap Hybrid FT MS instruments to enhance analytical capabilities – opening up new measurements and speeding up others. It’s been great to work with a company as distinguished and impactful within the MS industry as Thermo Fisher Scientific. Their support for our technology speaks volumes and we’re eager to continue working together.
As a result of this collaboration, ZipChip became the talk of the show, which was dominated by members of the life science and biopharma communities. Launched earlier this year, and officially debuted at ASMS, ZipChip is an innovative system that provides high-quality separation capabilities for a broad range of biomolecules as a front-end for MS instruments.
Onsite, attendees had the opportunity look at the ZipChip interface and review a plethora of data we have acquired across a wide range of applications. The lengthy conversations at our booth and positive reactions we received were extremely rewarding and validating to us.
An Application Mindset
MS vendors have always struggled to walk the line between performance and simplicity (aka accessibility). Historically, users had to sacrifice one for the other, but technological innovations are changing this. At 908 Devices, we aim to bridge the gap between complex data and actionable knowledge through our user-friendly devices. Just as we no longer need to be programmers to use a computer, scientists shouldn’t have to be experts in MS or chromatography to do their jobs.
At this year’s show in particular, we saw this theme reinforced time and time again – solutions; not “instruments”. In most cases, scientists approached us with specific application needs in mind. We resonate with that mindset! They weren’t looking for an instrument, a particular separations technology, and certainly not any piece of complex hardware, which may require further modifications upon purchase. Quite the contrary. What we found was a desire for simple, easy-to-use devices that could be directly applied to specific problems they have.
We love to solve problems and this approach makes so much sense to us given modern life. Most of us don’t walk into a car dealership and base our purchase on which model has a particular torque convertor, fuel injector scheme, or horsepower spec — we want something that fits us. You might want something to be fuel efficient, reliable, and able to carry your whole family. You want to get to where you want to go – you don’t want to spend the weekends tuning the performance and doing maintenance. We are application-driven.
As with most purchasing decisions, we’re seeing life science professionals thinking largely in terms of end use and asking more abstract questions. They aren’t looking for performance indicators; they’re looking for a device to make the job easier.
In each of the industries we touch, we aim to provide purpose-built, user-friendly devices (not instruments) that empower users and allow them to abstract from the technology and get on with their daily work. We’ve developed all our products with end use in mind and have created devices designed to solve specific customer pain points. These industries want simple solutions and we’re confident that our range of products is well suited to answer the call.
Dr. Kevin J. Knopp, CEO & co-founder of 908 Devices