Antibody validation, suppliers, and the way forward

It was fantastic to hear suppliers and researchers talk so openly about antibody validation, collaboration, and the industry’s future at the recent 2nd International Antibody Validation Meeting in Bath.

From listening to the speakers and chatting with the delegates, it’s clear that we all agree there is a need to improve the fragmented approach to antibody validation that currently exists; we need a much more cohesive set of standards. We’re very interested to see how our contribution, and the contributions of others, might help shape this these standards in the upcoming GBSI meeting.

It was also refreshing to see so many echo our sentiments around the need for all stakeholders to take a degree of responsibility for improving validation standards – this isn’t an issue that any one group is going to solve. While funders and publishers can request validated antibodies on grant or paper submission, and researchers can help by educating peers on the need for their own validation, manufacturers will still be central to making some of the most significant changes. 

This is why we continue to champion better standards of antibody validation. On one hand, this means looking at our own in-house manufacturing and validation processes, which is why we implemented our ongoing knockout validation initiative – we’re already a year into this and have validated over 500 antibodies and removed a further 200 that didn’t meet our standards. We also introduced a range of recombinant RabMAb® bodies to really offer researchers the highest levels of consistency and sensitivity and now we have over 9,000 of these. But on the other hand, it means paying much closer attention to how we work with our third-party suppliers to ensure they meet our own high standards.

Working with third-party suppliers essentially allows us to expand upon our own expertise with the expertise of external companies to cater to as many customer demands as possible. The benefit of this is that we can offer researchers high quality across the whole range of antibodies that we know many people expect.

Right now we work closely with over 400 trusted suppliers and all product data we receive from them undergoes stringent quality checks. We also undertake catalog reviews to remove duplicate antibodies. We know that duplication of products is a problem for many researchers, and this is a problem we don’t think they should have to face. This is the manufacturer’s responsibility and we’ve been tackling this for a while now – last year we pulled over 2,000 duplicate products from out catalog, and we’re continuing with this catalog curation to eliminate this problem as quickly as possible.

We also make much of the data around our antibodies entirely open: on our datasheets you can find extensive data around the applications the product has been tested in, as well as practical information like the dilution and storage recommendations, immunogen information, and species reactivity. While the immunogen sequences are often proprietary, we will give out those that we can to researchers who have a genuine need for them. When we can’t divulge the immunogen sequence, we offer the binding range, which is usually more than enough for most research needs.

It feels like real change is imminent in the way manufacturers, researchers, funders, and publishers will work together to help make a change for the better. Validated antibodies are essential to robust and reproducible data, and we’re excited to be actively contributing to the development of new global standards, as well leading the way in reagent quality.

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