Q: Professor Simons, why lipidomics at all?
Kai Simons: One class of biomolecules that, for long, remained in the shadow of on-going omics upheaval in biology, were the lipids. The scientific community focused on DNA, RNAs and proteins since these studies promised a shortcut to mechanistic understanding of biological function and homeostasis. Within this context, why care about lipids. They were largely seen as an uninteresting heterogeneous set of molecules having few specific functions.
But this is now changing. Lipids not only form the fluid bilayer of our membranes but they interact with proteins and modulate membrane functions. Membrane lipids behave as collectives, form dynamic platforms (rafts) in cell membranes and are major players in metabolism. Therefore, lipids have to be included in our tool kit. Lipid species diversity will only be understood by including lipidomics technologies in the on-going omics (r)evolution. Until now the lipids were mostly excluded. Lipotype wants to change that!
Q: What is the vision of Lipotype?
Kai Simons: We envision Shotgun Lipidomics as a routine tool in academic research, for the development of functional foods and for clinical diagnostics. Lipidomics represents a quantitative phenotyping tool with incisive multi-parametric resolution. Personalized healthcare will be revolutionized by this new technology. Simply said, our vision and slogan is: Lipidomics for a better life!
Q: And what new does your company Lipotype offer?
We want to enable every researcher to try out lipidomics. Thus, with several others, we introduced a very price-competitive package in our service portfolio of lipid analysis. With the minimum amount of 900 Euro a customer can get a basic analysis of 6 biological samples, what gives only 150 Euro per sample!
Q: What is unique about Lipotype lipid analysis services?
Kai Simons: Lipotype lipid analyses are high-throughput, with broad coverage of lipids and absolute quantitation of each lipid species. Recently, we published a joint paper with Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences, where we showed that the results generated with Lipotype technology are highly reproducible. We performed a comparison and showed that results obtained completely independently at different sites by different researchers have an average coefficient of variation of less than 15%.
The high quality standards of Lipotype are based on years of research experience from our work at Max-Planck on the role of lipids in cellular processes and on the development of lipidomics technology. We believe that the advantages of our technology are an essential prerequisite for the identification of statistical significant and clinical relevant lipid signatures, which can now be used by our customers.
Q: Lipotype will also introduce a webshop to sell its scientific services. That’s quite new for analytical services. Why did you decide to do that?
Kai Simons: Yes, we believe that introducing the webshop is totally novel in our market segment. The advantages will be obvious to our customers. The different service packages are grasped in a glance, prices are known from the beginning and in overall this provides a convenient way to purchase our services.