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Miniaturization Of Mass Spectrometry

|Includes: Astrotech Corporation (ASTC)
  • The Long Case For Astrotech Corporation
  • Dec 14, 2013 10:31 PM | about stocks: ASTC

    Elevator Pitch

    Miniature Mass Spectrometers A High Growth Field by John Litwinetz

    Mass spectrometry is the standard method of chemical analysis. This is because of its general applicability, high sensitivity, and molecularly specificity. It applies to materials in all states and provides molecular, elemental, and isotopic information. It is especially valuable in characterizing the complex materials of interest in the biological and pharmaceutical sciences, in forensics, public safety, and environmental analysis. Major companies in the field include Bruker and Safran Morpho

    Mass spectrometers are a $10 billion industry. The equipment, until recently is large, delicate, expensive and restricted to use in the laboratory.

    To be more generally useful, and in particular to be useful to clinicians, first responders, safety

    officers, and on the factory floor, mass spectrometers must be miniaturized and they must produce almost instantaneous, readily understood data.

    From an academic standpoint, Dr. Graham Cook of Purdue University,, has lead a team in developing miniaturization.

    There are several start-ups currently in the process of miniaturizing mass spectrometry to allow use outside of the laboratory thereby increasing the potential market. Sources estimate the potential market of $1 billion by 2015. As a result investors are searching for methods of taking advantage of the growth and profits.

    908 Devices has received multiple rounds of funding from venture capitalists and Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB) and has put together a team to develop a hand held mass spectrometer. Microsaic Systems has been working on desktop units.

    The only listed company working on miniaturizing mass spectrometry is 1St Detect a unit of (NASDAQ:ASTC).

    Astrotech is a engaged in providing service to the Space program and has developed a miniaturized mass spectrometer for the space program and has released the product for the commercial market. The company is in the process of developing a hand held unit although no release date has been announced.

    Astrotech was recently in the news regarding a patent awarded for their ion technology. The company is profitable has about a 14 p/e and traded Friday at 1.82 at the close.

    It is unclear which company will benefit the most from the miniaturization of mass spectrometry.

    The potential uses in the medical, biological, security, chemical, and military fields is vast and investors should be aware of the fact and treat their investment much like investing in small biotech firms with large potential.

    One of the most interesting facts I discovered is that Mass Spectrometry can be used for early detection of many common diseases.

    Additional Links:

    Thesis & Catalyst For Astrotech Corporation (ASTC)

    Company is currently fairly valued based on current business but may increase substantially upon release of hand held mass spectrometer


    The opportunity is speculative based on the successful design and release of the product.

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    Stocks: ASTC

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.