Meeting Avacta, and introducing affimers

Here at CiteAb we list antibodies, but we’re also really interested in Affimers too. Affimers are engineered proteins that mimic the specificity and binding affinities of antibodies, but are much smaller, and can be more robust and simpler to produce with consistent quality.

Affimers, unlike commercial research antibodies which rely on hosts, are generated by screening through a large library of Affimers stored in the laboratory without the use of animals, which means that new Affimers to customers’ targets can be generated quickly and possibly at lower cost compared with antibodies.

The manufacturing of Affimers in bulk is also carried out in the laboratory without the involvement of animals and therefore the batch to batch variability and the cost of supplying the product is low.

We have recently met Avacta, who acquired the intellectual property for Affimers in 2012. The company is based in Wetherby, just outside Leeds in the United Kingdom, and was set up by CEO Alastair Smith along with two fellow scientists from Leeds in 2005.

The Avacta Group set up Avacta Life Sciences in 2012 to develop and commercialise the Affimer IP which it acquired from Leeds University.ALSCallout280210

We spoke to Michael Vinegrad, Marketing Manager for Avacta, who told us that the company now aims to create a high quality, powerful set of tools to help life scientists accelerate the understanding of biology and disease, and to help them apply these advances to diagnosis and treatment.

Michael explained that “Affimers can be used for applications in diagnostics, drug and biomarker discovery and in biotech research and development. They also have the potential to act as therapeutic agents. Affimers have seven simple but essential advantages over antibodies – affinity and specificity, rapid generation, quality, robustness, small size, easily functionalised and licensable.”

Alastair Smith, Avacta CEO, said: “What really excites me, and drives the company, is the opportunity to change the way life scientists explore the complexity of the proteome and the myriad of interactions that define us as humans.”

Dr Andrew Chalmers, founder of CiteAb, said: “While we’re not going to give up on antibodies yet (!) we are all excited to see how Affimers develop and the impact they have on progressing research in the life sciences. Our team here will be keen to see Avacta’s progress and we’re now listing Affimers on CiteAb.

~ Matt and the CiteAb team

 

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