07 Oct 2012, Vipul Murarka, BioSpectrum
Singapore: In July 2012, Life Technologies signed a collaborative partnership with the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) to generate the first-ever master set of quality epigenetic recombinant antibodies for use in disease-related research. The first 58 of the 200 highly-specific antibodies to be designed are now available to the community.
The recombinant antibodies are being developed by Life Technologies in partnership with the SGC, which comprises a network of more than 200 scientists from the University of Toronto and Oxford University, with scientists at the Universities of Toronto, Chicago, and Braunschweig, as well as six pharmaceutical companies including AbbVie, Eli Lilly, GSK, Novartis, Pfizer and Takeda. As renewable recombinant antibodies, they are expected to perform consistently from one lot to the next.
Epigenetics is an emerging field of research with a high potential for discovery of therapies in challenging disease areas such as cancer and inflammation, and is increasingly becoming the focus of pharmaceutical research programs interested in exploring this untapped field for drug discovery. The availability of high-quality tools for research in epigenetics, such as Life Technologies antibodies, will enable the scientists to explore this new layer of biology, pushing the boundaries of our understanding in human biological mechanisms and the biology of disease, in addition to facilitating the discovery of novel therapeutic targets.
Additionally, there are many reasons why these specific antibodies are important. Many of the human epigenetic proteins do not have renewable antibodies available on the market. Therefore, these antibodies will allow the scientists to explore new systems and mechanisms. Also, the antibodies are consistent in their performance. Customers purchasing these antibodies will not be taking a risk. The antibodies are 'renewable', meaning that they will be identical in performance from one lot to the next- a significant improvement over existing antibodies on the market.
Furthermore, the antibodies will be validated for some of the research methodologies and applications that they are intended for. Again this lowers the risk for customers purchasing this product. Moreover, as recombinant antibodies, the exact sequence is known. This makes the antibodies easier to modify for research purposes.
Dr Aled Edwards, CEO and director, SGC, said that "The agreement between SGC and Life Technologies demonstrates our mutual commitment to disseminating our inventions, technologies and reagents to the wider community in partnership with leaders in industry for the research and distribution."
The collaboration will produce both Fabs and IgGs towards the epigenetic targets. While the majority of researchers have been using IgGs, Fabs are gaining acceptance among scientists because they are simpler to manipulate for research purposes, for example for attachment of tags. They are also easier to produce.
Talking about the challenges at the moment for producing antibodies, Dr Susanne Gräslund, project coordinator and biotechnology principal investigator, SGC, pointed out that "Validation of the antibodies is always challenging, especially when attempting to validate them for research applications that require different antibody properties. Another general problem is that antibodies in production can perform differently from batch-to-batch, and therefore reproducibility of research results is not great. With the SGC-Life Technologies antibodies, we produce recombinant antibodies that will be consistent in their properties."
"Validation data and community reviews of the new antibodies may be found on 1DegreeBio.org. The release of these epigenetics-targeted antibodies coincides with the launch of 1DegreeBio's new Epigenetics Portal, where epigenetics researchers can find targets, tools and product data specific to their research."