By Rachel Smith
Products from a Teesside life sciences company could help to save millions of dollars currently being wasted in research projects, according to some of the world’s leading scientists.
Wilton Centre-based Absolute Antibody, which manufactures antibodies to be used in biomedical research, has had its production methods endorsed by over a hundred specialists in its field.
Writing in one of the leading international science publications ‘Nature’, the article states that adopting the manufacturing process used by Absolute Antibody would avoid the “vast” waste of materials, researcher time and money in the area of biomedical research.
The authors estimate that an estimated US$350 million is wasted annually in the United States alone by using poorly characterised and ill-defined antibodies.
Nick Hutchings, Absolute Antibody CEO, said that the article is very significant.
“It is signed by 110 leading scientists in the field so it really packs a punch.”
“It essentially says that everyone working with antibodies should be using products manufactured in the way that we manufacture them, and not the way they have been manufactured traditionally, and even goes so far as to mention our company by name.”
Antibodies are really important proteins in the immune system, which allow cells of the immune system to recognise foreign particles, such as bacteria or viruses.
In research and diagnostics, antibodies are very useful reagents for detecting proteins e.g. cancer markers, doping or pregnancy testing and can also be labelled with fluorescent probes to visualise localisation of proteins in a cell.
Nick Hutchings explained: “One thing, however, with antibodies is that they are really poorly defined.
“This means that errors occur because you have very few ways of saying that antibody X used in a clinical study in London is the same antibody X they are using to replicate this study in Newcastle. This does happen – and costs millions.”
Absolute Antibody addresses this problem in the methods it uses to create antibodies.
Using a process advocated by the authors of the ‘Nature’ article the company creates absolutely defined antibodies of the highest purity.
Nick Hutchings added: “So when we talk about our antibody X, someone halfway round the globe will know exactly what we mean.”
Absolute Antibody relocated its laboratory operations from Oxfordshire to the Wilton Centre in late 2014 to expand its business, doubling the size of its lab space in the process.