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The DiscoveryHD4™ Platform

Acheive More With a Global Metabolomics Approach

Our Vision for Metabolomics

Since our founding, Metabolon has sought to develop a global method for profiling all the metabolites in a biological sample, whether the metabolite was anticipated to be present or unexpected and novel. Our vision was to develop a comprehensive, robust and unbiased way of identifying and quantifying metabolites to advance life science research and biomarker discovery.

We have made this vision a reality through our DiscoveryHD4™ platform. This industry-leading metabolomics platform is the product of almost 15 years of continuous innovation and part of our continuing commitment to put the power of metabolomics to work for you.

Click on the icons below to learn more about what makes the DiscoveryHD4™ platform one of the most advanced metabolomics platforms.

  • The “Chemocentric Approach”

    Accurate metabolite identification is essential to delivering actionable metabolomics data.  Generating accurate data, however, is vastly more difficult than it first appears.

    A single sample analyzed using a mass spectrometer often produces tens of thousands of data points (referred to as “ion features”), but the actual number of metabolites in the same sample is typically only several hundred. This means that the majority of data points are actually extraneous (the result of instrument noise, process artifacts and redundant ion features). Sifting through those data points to identify relevant metabolites is a laborious and time-consuming process, fraught with the potential for “false positive” identification of metabolites.

    To overcome this challenge, Metabolon embraces a “Chemocentric Approach” that makes removing noise and identifying metabolites rapid and efficient. Metabolon’s proprietary technology automatically compares the generated data against our extensive chemical library, identifying relevant metabolites in a matter of minutes. The result is accurate, reproducible, and actionable data ready for statistical analysis.

  • Our Chemical Reference Library: The Foundation of the “Chemocentric Approach”

    The foundation of Metabolon’s “Chemocentric Approach” lies in our extensive chemical reference library. To automatically filter out extraneous, noise-producing data, our mass spectrometers are connected via proprietary software to a rigorously built chemical library based on pure reference standards of known metabolite structures.

    The library was developed by analyzing chemical standards with both LC/MS and GC/MS methods (including positive and negative ionization methods) and cataloging all of the ions that were produced.  The chemical reference library allows for rapid metabolite identification for subsequent statistical analysis.   

    Through more than a decade of research, Metabolon’s library has grown to include more than 4,500 known metabolites and 9,000 novel metabolites (without an identified chemical structure).  We believe that this robust, ever-expanding library offers the most comprehensive metabolomics coverage currently available.

  • Informatics: Our Software Makes It Possible 

    Building our extensive chemical reference library was essential to empower the software that makes our “Chemocentric Approach” to metabolomics possible.

    Metabolon’s innovative, patented software rapidly identifies, quantitates and accurately quality controls the data. Some of the key software tools involved with this process include:

    • Metabolyzer™ - Metabolite identification and peak integration
    • IonTracker™ - QC and identification of novel metabolites
    • Cross-Set Integrator™ - QC of peak integration (quantitation)
    • VPhil™ - QC tool for chemical spectral analyst data curation

    The Metabolyzer software can identify hundreds of metabolites within minutes of completing the analytical run by comparing the mass spectral ion features of the experimental samples to those contained in the authentic standards in our chemical reference library.

    Chemical spectral analysts then use tools such as VPhil, IonTracker, and Cross-Set integrator to verify the automated data analysis. This elegantly designed quality control software is essential to the cost-effective production of a clean data set ready for analysis. 

    When Metabolon receives a client’s sample for processing on the HD4 platform, our proprietary pattern-matching and correlation analysis software programs automatically compare ion features from the experimental samples to the authenticated standards in the library. This allows us to positively identify each of the hundreds of metabolites detected within a sample in a matter of minutes.

  • Proprietary Sample and Data Management with mLIMS™

    All of our software systems are grounded in our laboratory management information system (LIMS) data structures. Metabolon has created a proprietary LIMS (mLIMS™) environment custom-engineered to manage the vast number of data files generated from metabolomics studies. This secure system also allows us to track the thousands of samples we process each week and audit the data produced through our automated screenings.

    The mLIMS system is built to encompass sample accessioning, sample preparation, instrumental analysis and reporting, and advanced data analysis. It has been customized to interface with our in-house information extraction and data visualization systems, as well as third-party instrumentation and data analysis software.

  • Rigorous Sample Processing and Extraction Procedures

    Metabolon employs automated procedures for sample extraction and processing. These procedures are guided by rigorous SOPs, which are designed to cover a wide range of chemically diverse metabolites with low process variability. Samples are tracked through Metabolon’s custom-built laboratory management system (mLIMS™) throughout the entire process, and quality controls are integrated into every step.

  • Advanced Mass Spectrometry Technology

    Metabolon continuously evaluates new hardware and chromatography to advance its mission to provide the highest-quality metabolomics research services and develop innovative metabolite-based diagnostic tests. Sample extracts are processed via three ultra high-performance liquid chromatography/tandem accurate mass spectrometry (UHPLC/MS/MS) methods and an additional gas chromatography/mass spectrometer (GC/MS). This highly precise hardware generates the raw data that our proprietary software filters and processes to create actionable insights.

  • Quality Control at Every Step

    Metabolon employs rigorous quality control procedures throughout every step of the study process and adheres to an extensive set of SOPs to ensure accurate metabolite identification with minimal relative standard deviation.

    Every procedure we perform relating to our platform (including inter-data analysis, instrument maintenance, and reagent preparation) is governed by our rigorous SOPs. These standard procedures are well-established, and process deviation is virtually non-existent.

    In addition, all of the experimental data and instrument data generated during a study are automatically monitored by our quality control software and then manually inspected by our experienced lab personnel. Metabolomics data are matched to our spectral library by proprietary software and manually verified by our chemical spectral analysts before final validation by the Head of Data Management.

  • Advanced Bioinformatics and Expert Interpretation

    Metabolon views high-quality bioinformatics and interpretation of metabolomics data as integral to delivering actionable study results. After all, the ultimate goal of a metabolomics study is not only to generate data, but to translate that data into deep understanding and actionable insights.

    Metabolon is dedicated to delivering powerful interpretation and bioinformatics tools that allow for expert interpretation of the metabolomics data we produce. Our Ph.D. study directors leverage these tools when creating client deliverables, which may include project files, statistical data, interpreted reports, and visualization/analysis of pathways.

    In addition, clients have access to both raw data and a variety of interpretation tools through the MetaboLync™ Client Portal, our secure online environment for viewing, exploring and sharing project data.