If you follow our blog regularly you couldn’t have missed that last week our team was busy hosting antibody suppliers, academic and industry researchers and professionals from the pharmaceutical and biotech sector here in Bath for the 2nd International Antibody Validation Event.

If you weren’t able to join us last week, here is a quick update on the discussions that took place and some of the ideas that emerged from the event – and we hope you can join in the next event, more details to follow on that another time!

The event attracted nearly 100 attendees, coming from all over the world to bring together ideas and expertise, and to take part in conversation aimed at establishing best practices in research antibody validation and improving antibody validation for the life science community.

A key theme that emerged throughout the event was summarised by Professor Jim Trimmer from University of California Davis who said that it is key the question regarding validation is framed “not in how you validate your antibody, but for what has your antibody been validated”.

Dr Andrew Chalmers, founder of CiteAb, said: “This point by Professor Trimmer summarised a recurring theme of the meeting. You need to validate your antibody for the specific circumstances you are using it in.”

Screen Shot 2016-09-22 at 08.08.28Other speakers focused on this along with issues of transparency, with a number of reagent suppliers outlining their efforts and processes, including Birte Aggeler of Bio-techne, Jason Li of Proteintech, Deepa Shankar of Thermo Fisher Scientific and Alejandra Solache from Abcam.

Dr Chalmers added: “As a researcher who works regularly with suppliers and other researchers, but less with the pharmaceutical companies, I found it especially useful to get insight into how companies like Medimmune and AstraZeneca operate validation processes.

“Arthur Lewis of Medimmune and Karine Enesa from AstraZeneca illustrated how antibody validation is carried out in their companies and both stressed how important it was for the success of a drug development program – outlining how patient safety hinges on the antibodies being used in research.”

The education of researchers using antibodies was an interesting issue raised by Alison Banham of the University of Oxford – key if the recording of antibody use is to improve.

Another fascinating issue that was raised was that around business forces in the antibody market. Andrew said: “Jason Li from Proteintech outlined the business forces that operate in the antibody market and how they can affect quality, with a quote we might not have expected at an antibody validation meeting – “when in doubt ask Karl Marx”…!”

Following excellent talks a discussion forum brought together funders, publishers – both groups being key stakeholders in antibody validation, along with researchers and suppliers to discuss the issues raised through the event. Discussions were wide in focus but of particular interest were ideas on including the adoption of recombinant antibodies (championed by Andrew Bradbury of Los Alamos National Laboratory) and the need for minimum requirements of antibody validation.

Feedback from attendees has so far been excellent. Raymond Chan of Bio-Techne said: “Bio-Techne brands R&D Systems and Novus Biologicals were delighted to be able to participate in and support the 2nd International Antibody Validation Meeting. Release of highly validated antibodies, and research reproducibility is an issue which we at Bio-Techne have taken seriously for the last 30 years. This meeting was a timely and ideal forum.” 

Dr Andrew Chalmers said: “This event would not have been possible without the support of our fantastic sponsors. We are very grateful to Abcam, Proteintech, R&D Systems, Novus Biologicals, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Ximbio. Thank you also to the University of Bath for hosting this event as part of its 50th Anniversary celebrations, and to AstraZeneca for supporting the running of the event alongside CiteAb. Finally a special mention to St John’s Laboratory who hosted the first meeting in 2014 – we’re sure that like us, their team is looking forward to AbVal17 already.”

If you missed the event but would like to chat through any of these ideas in more detail, or have thoughts you’d like to share, please continue the discussion using the hashtags #AbVal16 and #AbValidate. Alternatively our team are always happy to talk antibody validation so get in touch and we’d be happy to have you visit or just a chat by email!

– David and the CiteAb team