Animal-Free Antibodies

Polyclonal antibodies and hybridoma-derived antibodies are made using animals. While this practice has brought us many great reagents and enabled important discoveries, many scientists are uneasy with the use of animals for the creation of their tools. Moreover, many funding bodies are pushing toward the use of reagents made without the use of animals or animal-derived components (e.g. serum).

As a result, the animal-free antibody movement has been gaining more and more traction in recent years, as supported by a recent letter on animal-free antibody alternatives published in Nature Biotechnology. Since our founding in 2012, Absolute Antibody has been at the forefront of making animal-free recombinant antibodies more readily available for research and diagnostic applications. We are now active members of committees to promote the use of animal-free recombinant antibodies, such as the US National Institutes of Health’s Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods.

The recombinant production platform we use at Absolute Antibody is completely animal and animal-component free. The platform is based on transient, chemical transfection of a HEK293 cell line cultured in a precisely defined, serum-free medium. We do not use viral transfection approaches. This process is used for both our custom antibody expression service, as well as to produce all the reagents in our rapidly growing catalog of recombinant antibodies and proteins.

Our reagents portfolio contains antibodies from diverse sources, including classic hybridomas which have been sequenced for re-creation via recombinant production. This means that while the reagent was originally discovered by immunizing an animal, the products available for purchase are completely animal-free. Other sources of antibodies include human B-cell sequencing, as well as antibodies discovered by phage display.

We also support the sequencing of existing hybridoma and ascites-derived antibodies to enable animal-free recombinant production. We provide high-throughput (NGS) hybridoma sequencing and antibody protein sequencing services to customers worldwide. To learn more about sequencing existing antibodies, view our presentation below, given as part of a webinar series organized by the US National Toxicology Program Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM), the PETA International Science Consortium Ltd., and the European Union Reference Laboratory for alternatives to animal testing (EURL ECVAM).

If you want or need antibodies or proteins that have been made without animals or animal-derived components, you can be assured that every product available from Absolute Antibody will suit your requirements. View the full catalog here, and contact us here for more information.

Dr. Fiebig’s talk describes how antibody sequencing of existing hybridoma and ascites-derived antibodies allows them to be produced recombinantly, without the use of animals or animal components. In the presentation, he explains why the scientific community is “falling out of love with hybridomas” and instead moving toward recombinant antibody expression for improved batch-to-batch reproducibility, alleviation of animal welfare concerns, and the enabling of antibody engineering.

Absolute Antibody Ltd was founded in Oxford, UK, in August 2012, with the vision that all antibody users should be able to use recombinant antibodies, which are absolutely defined by their amino acid sequence. This view gained support in 2015 with a Comment in Nature magazine by Bradbury and Pluckthun (+110 co-signatories) – “Reproducibility: Standardize antibodies used in research“. Rather than creating entirely new antibodies (or antibody-like molecules), we are building a catalog by taking existing antibodies (often from hybridomas) then manufacturing them in a superior way and improving their usefulness by engineering. For more information, check out our introductory video.