Llamas and alpacas are becoming a trendy addition to many traditional farmyards, and biopharma too is increasingly turning to them.
Shire for one is investigating the use of llama-derived antibodies, licensing the technology from biotech firm arGEN-X.
According to arGEN-X’s CEO Tim Van Hauwermeiren, llama antibodies offer a greater advantage over those derived from transgenic mice due to them being highly divergent between human and llama. Therefore llamas mount high affinity antibody responses against any therapeutic target.
Furthermore, according to publication Nature, the small size and simple structure of the llama antibodies means they are easy to produce as recombinant proteins.