The Teesside, UK-headquartered firm generates antibodies for a range of commonly sought after disease targets, as well as manufacturing complex, rare and post-translational modification specific antibodies.
Emily Humphrys, CRB’s Commercial Director, told us: “I think with antibodies, unless you have something that is a real best-seller, the other options are to differentiate your catalogue with targeted antibodies to specialised fields of research areas and that’s what we are intending to do.”
“We want to get people buying from us more frequently, rather than a one-off custom antibody.”
CRB also offers synthesis of custom peptides as a contract service to academics, biotech and pharma.
However, this second catalogue for antibodies is being launched under the separate Discovery Antibodies brand, to reflect its non-Cambridge base in Northeast England.
“We felt because we’re no longer in Cambridge, we needed to differentiate from the original catalogue of antibodies, which was under the long-standing Cambridge Research Biochemicals name,” she explained.
“The catalogue is still very much related to CRB. We’re still behind the manufacturing and it’s done at the same operation – in Billingham.”
Additions to the catalogue
Humphrys explained, that as a sister to the DISCOVERY Peptides catalogue, which was launched in 2016 and the descendent to the original CRB catalogue in the early 80’s, a lot of the original products are still of interest today.
However, given the many improvements in peptide chemistry, analogue findings and discovery of new pathways since, there are some new targets the catalogue offers.
“As peptide chemists, we’re very good at modifying these unusual antigens to mimic post translational modifications in protein targets. I think we’re much more technologically advanced, because the chemistry has really improved,” Humphrys told us.
For example, today Discovery is launching an antibody to Lamin A and C proteins which are involved in DNA repair, cell division and ageing. Mutations of this gene cause a wide spectrum of diseases (laminopathies).
Another example of Discovery’s products is anti c-Fos antibodies, which have been implicated in gene regulation, or ERK1/2 kinase targets, indicated for use in cancer and chronic inflammatory disease.
“Being a British company, we’re expensive compared to many of our international custom antibody competitors. Whereas for catalogue, we’re much more affordable,” she added.
Humphrys explained validation is central to the firm’s business model, explaining this is what differentiates CRB from other antibody providers in the industry:
“Although the market is mature and well populated, we felt that since the article ‘Reproducibility Crisis: Blame it on the antibodies’ was published in Nature News in 2015, and the fall of Santa Cruz, that it was the perfect time for a more discerning player to enter the market.”
The minimum for validation is Western Blotting. “We perform in-house analysis. If we find the antibody isn’t detecting anything, it doesn’t go on the website, which is different from a lot of competitors,” added Dr Ling-I Su, Discovery Catalogue Manager.
“We’re also actively collaborating with customers who buy these Discovery antibodies, to boost this data validation,” Humphrys added.