At CiteAb we work hard to get to know individual antibody suppliers so that you can be sure the data we hold is always up to date and correct. Every now and then we feature individual company highlights here on our blog, allowing you to get to know leading antibody suppliers too.
This week we’ve interviewed Helena Tåquist, Web Marketing Manager at Atlas Antibodies. Atlas were recently named the antibody company with the best pipeline in the CiteAb and F1000 Antibody Awards 2014, so we were keen to find out how they have set up their business to achieve this.
- Hi Helena. Can you tell me a bit about the company’s history, when it was set up, and what its main achievements to date etc?
We are a Swedish biotech company founded in 2006, started by researchers from the Human Protein Atlas project. The Human Protein Atlas is a Swedish research project that started in 2003, with the goal to create an immunohistochemistry based map of human protein expression and localisation in normal tissues, cancers and cell lines. When the Human Protein Atlas was first launched, they were contacted by researchers wanting to obtain the antibodies used for the research. This is how Atlas Antibodies started, to commercialise the antibodies developed by the Human Protein Atlas project. We call these antibodies Triple A Polyclonals.
Today, we continue to manufacture and perform quality control for the antibodies from the Human Protein Atlas and distribute them to customers all over the world. In 2012, we started in-house development of mouse monoclonal antibodies PrecisA Monoclonals against a selected number of targets. Last year, we added antigen peptides PrEST Antigens, and Mass Spectrometry standards QPrESTs to our catalog. Today we have in total over 50,000 products.
- You won ‘Company with the best pipeline’. What do you think makes Atlas’ pipeline so strong?
We specialise in highly characterised research antibodies towards human proteins. The entire human body is our focus, our goal is to have antibodies against every human protein. You’ll find antibodies in our catalog against proteins that no one knows really what the function is yet.
Our polyclonal antibodies, Triple A Polyclonals, are developed within the Human Protein Atlas project for the creation of an expression map of the complete human proteome. To accomplish this, highly specific premium antibodies are developed to all protein coding human genes and protein profiling is established in a multitude of tissues and cells. Expression data is available from application-specific validation. Applications applied are immunohistochemistry, Western blot analysis, protein array assay and immunofluorescent based confocal microscopy.
New antibodies, validated with up 700 images per antibody, annotated by pathologists are developed at a rate of approximately 2000 new products per year, aiming at a complete coverage of the human proteome.
- Can you tell us a bit more about how you handle such large numbers of new product?
The antigens are designed using a proprietary software to select the most suitable antigen for a given target protein, by selecting a Protein Epitope Signature Tag (PrEST) sequence of between 50 to 150 amino acids with the lowest possible identity to other human proteins. Triple A Polyclonals are produced using the same standardized production process to ensure consistency. Our unique antibody purification process, using the recombinant PrEST-antigen as the affinity ligand, then achieves the very highest level of reliability. New production lots are tested in parallel with existing lots to ensure functionality and assay reproducibility in a real lab situation.
Each Triple A Polyclonal antibody has been used for IHC-staining of samples from 708 individuals originating from normal and cancer afflicted human tissues. Trained pathologists have evaluated the reliability of all IHC-staining patterns. In addition ICC-IF-based confocal microscopy has been used to study subcellular distribution patterns in selected cell-lines. Further, Triple A Polyclonals are characterised by Western Blot, primarily in endogenous protein lysates from human tissues.
- Where is Atlas based, and do you have any other offices, distributors etc around the world?
We are based in Stockholm, Sweden and distribute our products worldwide. We also collaborate with other suppliers to distribute our products. Sigma-Aldrich is a global distributor for our products, you will find our antibodies as Prestige Antibodies in Sigma-Aldrich’s catalog. We also collaborate with local distributors in Asia and Europe as well as and a few global OEM partners.
- How would you sum up Atlas’ mission in one line?
Our mission is to provide our customers with advanced research reagents targeting all human proteins
- How many people work at the company?
We now have 27 people working at Atlas Antibodies.
- Do you have a team mascot/dog/saying etc? If so can you tell us about this?
We have no mascot but we do have a symbol of a human that you’ll find in our logo, on most of our marketing material, and also on top of the antibody vials we distribute to customers. You’ll recognise antibody vials from Atlas Antibodies when you open the lab refrigerator. They always have a blue sticker on top of the lid with the white human shape on it. Our focus is the entire human proteome, and as a company we strive for that personal connection with our customers, we like to describe ourselves as ‘Totally Human’. We also see our products and services as ‘By researchers for researchers’.
CiteAb lists all of Atlas’ antibodies. We are always looking for new companies and academics to share their antibody data with us, so if you have antibodies that are not listed on CiteAb do get in touch.
– Matt and the CiteAb team