Avacta Life Sciences focusing on high quality, unique catalogue Affimer reagents to open up opportunities for Life Scientists

Avacta Life Sciences’ Affimer® technology is a unique alternative to established reagents such as antibodies and aptamers.

Our strategy is to address important gaps in life sciences where the right tools aren’t available and to provide life scientists with powerful Affimer reagents to open up new avenues of research and discovery. At present our focus is on creating new tools to study the ubiquitin proteasome system and cell signalling, as well as providing a number of general toolkit Affimer reagents. The products in our catalogue (link is external) now reflect this focus and over the coming months, the catalogue will grow as we expand the range of Affimer products available. Our commitment is to provide a high quality, unique 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.

There are a number of reasons that antibodies to certain targets can be difficult to produce. The target may be toxic to the host resulting in death of the host animal before an immune response can be raised; if the target shows a high degree of homology to host proteins it may be unrecognised by the host’s immune system and result in a failure to produce antibodies against it; if a target is conformational or a post-translational epitope it may be lost during antigen processing; or it may be difficult to source a sufficient quantity of a rare antigen to generate an immunogenic dose.

As Affimer reagents are produced entirely in vitro the range of possible targets is not restricted by the immune system, thus they can theoretically be generated to any target.

Affimer reagents are proteins, and therefore also have a number of key advantages over aptamers. Sensitivity to the assay environment is not an issue because the Affimer scaffold is resistant to a wide pH range and thermally very stable, making it suitable for an equally wide range of assay conditions. Affimer proteins are also not sensitive to EDTA (a problem for aptamers that require divalent cations for folding and function). The Affimer scaffold has been engineered so that it no longer binds to proteins found in human cells, serum or plasma so that an Affimer’s interactions are specifically defined by the engineered peptide loops made up of 19 naturally occurring amino acid side chains.