Calbiotech breaks into antibody manufacture

By Fiona Barry

- Last updated on GMT

(Picture credit: flickr/UMHealthSystem)
(Picture credit: flickr/UMHealthSystem)

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Immunotherapy contractor Calbiotech has started work on a dedicated mAb plant intended to broaden its biopharma service offering.

The company’s spokeswoman told us the new facility will produce antibodies for both Calbiotech and outside sponsors, and will also develop recombinant antibodies for assays.

“Our current focus is on developing antibodies and immunoassays for diabetes, bone deficiency, autoimmune and hormone disorders.  In addition, we will aim to grow our current line of Mouse/Rat ELISAs using antibodies made in-house,” ​said Reema Boccia.

The facility will provide immunoassay services to pharmaceutical companies, as well as aiming to discover novel assays.


Calbiotech is “working with research groups from two different universities on separate projects, both of which involve developing an antibody and then using that antibody as a basis for novel biomarkers for research and clinical applications,”​ Boccia told

Collaborations have also already started with diagnostic companies in the US and abroad, she said, which wanted new custom immunoassays to expand their market.

Boccia added that the immunotherapy contractor was suited to a move into antibody production because it had the know-how to create the high-quality antibodies vital to making good assays.

Antibodies are critical materials for making immunoassays, i.e. good antibodies make good assays. To make good antibodies for immunoassays, the antibody developers need knowledge and technologies on producing antibodies and also knowledge and technologies on immunoassays.


Operations at the new plant will be led byDr Jimin Wang, who was recently appointed at Calbiotech’s VP of Research and Development. 

Before joining Calbiotech, Dr Wang developed hundreds of antibodies and immunoassays at Invitrogen’s BioSource division. There, he managed the facility for “hybridoma​” technology, which involves forming hybrid cell lines by fusing an antibody-producing B cell with a myeloma cell.  

The team developed cytokine and signaling assays in ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and Luminex platforms.

In the pipeline

Calbiotech’s expansion follows the San Diego company’s acquisition of Moduline Systems, an equipment manufacturer, in December 2013, and before that, the veterinary diagnostics division of Meridian Life Sciences.

"Calbiotech's strategic expansion into antibody production will improve efficiencies, enhance assay development and lead to faster innovation, which benefits our customers and the patients they serve​," said VP Barka.

Calbiotech VP David Barka said the company expected to debut its first antibodies this year. 

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