Kai Simons, Founder & CEO
Although it is a combination of thousands of different lipids (fats) that determines the well-being and health of a person, the understanding of lipids still seems to have taken a back seat. Routine blood lipid tests that only measure parameters such as LDL, HDL-cholesterol and triglycerides are misinterpreted as a fully informative description of an individual’s lipid levels. On the other hand, thousands of lipid molecules that are the building blocks of life and impact the human health in every aspect, from looks, feelings, and metabolism to diseases are most often viewed as an insignificant subject of research or even highly ignored. However, as more studies reveal the crucial role that lipids play in biological and medical research, this outlook is changing, triggering enormous growth in lipidomics research. One of the flag bearers at the forefront of this change is the German-based Lipotype that helps researchers in the life sciences and medical industries in their research analysis through their Lipotype Shotgun Lipidomic technology.
“The inception of the unique Shotgun Lipidomic Technology sprung from Lipotype’s goal to overcome two major obstacles that researchers faced in lipidomic analysis, the challenge of accessibility and the need for detailed, publishable reports of the research that can be deciphered from an analytical perspective,” says Kai Simons, founder and CEO of Lipotype.
The Lipotype Shotgun Lipidomics technology covers a wide variety of sample types, analyzes more than 2300 individual lipids and identifies more than 43 different lipid classes. Through Lipotype’s technology, researchers can perform bioanalysis and receive detailed, processed data reports with figures and graphs that are ready to be published for their reference. Taking it up a notch further, Lipotype also provides additional information through statistical analysis, pathway enrichment analysis, and cohort comparisons. “We combine the various requirements in lipid analysis that researchers need and offer our unique expertise in understanding the lipid profile,” points out Simons. The reliable platform can be adjusted according to customer requirements and has the potential to cater to specific lipid types as well. As opposed to other lipidomics technologies, shotgun lipidomics requires only a minimal sample amount per analysis.
Previously, techniques used in lipidomics such as NMR, liquid chromatography, and gas chromatography required higher sample amounts and had processes that are slower, time-consuming, expensive and extracted lesser information. In comparison, Shotgun Lipidomics, which is based on mass spectrometry, analyzes samples in as little time as five minutes and is affordable, making it an appealing factor to researchers.
In its endeavor to better serve customers, Lipotype has developed a web-based application- LipotypeZoom, enabling researchers to access the analysis of their samples through their laptops or the devices that they use and download information such as graphs, heat maps or statistical procedures like the principal component analysis.
We combine the various requirements in lipid analysis that researchers need and offer our unique expertise in understanding the lipid profile
Researchers also have the flexibility to adjust the settings by selecting or excluding specific samples, lipids and lipid classes, or even focusing on certain samples. On analyzing the data with Lipotype Zoom, users have the option of exporting the results into publishable quality material. Added to that, customers can opt for cohort comparisons, correlations and pathway enrichments, which are done by Lipotype’s data scientists team.
Simons credits Lipotype’s ability to compare the data of different samples and provide robust, highly reproducible results of excellent value to the company’s exponential growth and success. As the only service provider with a GMP certification in the market, Lipotype enables researchers to follow unbiased, quantitative data and comparable results by using internal standards that span the entire class of lipids for every single sample. Lipotype emphasizes on the importance of research support, which is a core aspect of the company’s service-oriented business approach, and lends its assistance in a myriad of activities ranging from sample preparation and study design until the interpretation of results. “With a distinctive team comprising lipid biologists, bioinformatics experts, and scientists specialized in mass spectrometry data analysis, we want our customers to find their answers to their research questions,” adds Simons.
The CEO further goes on to highlight how Lipotype’s capability to cater to a diverse spectrum of industries like biotech, pharma, food, cosmetics, dermatology and academia and its expanding client base is a reflection of the company’s proficiency in the field of lipidomics. Simons recalls the time Aldeyra Pharmaceuticals approached Lipotype for assistance in conducting a Phase II clinical trial for SLS, an inherited disorder rising from aldehyde metabolism. Characterized by scaling skin or ichthyosis, retinal disease and neurological dysfunction, there were no treatments or therapies to address SLS. For the Phase II clinical trial, Lipotype deployed its Shotgun Lipidomics Technology platform, where the team provided Aldeyra with lipidomics analysis of skin samples to help them identify the relevant lipid biomarkers. Following the analysis, Lipotype was able to establish the correlation between the clinical effects of Aldeyra’s products and the lipid biomarkers. From the results of the tested patients, Aldeyra was able to understand the significant changes in the dermal biomarkers caused by the active ingredients in Aldeyra’s products. Post the analysis, Aldeyra was able to proceed to Phase III of its clinical trial and looks forward to obtaining approval in the short term.
Recognizing the opportunities that clinical research has in store, Lipotype is currently working on enhancing its product and services portfolio specifically to assist researchers in the clinical sector. The company believes in sharing and utilizing the information that it has gathered from its customer base and is working towards its goal of making science approachable and accessible to everyone. “We are trying to build an inclusive lipidomics community for researchers so that everybody can participate in research,” concludes Simons.