Antibody failure wastes billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of scientist hours
The first reagent we started with is antibodies.
About half a million scientists spend over $3 billion a year buying research antibodies for experiments. They use these to detect and quantify proteins.
Selecting antibodies slows the velocity of research and drug development. There are more than 6.8 million commercial antibodies, and vendors can't predict how each one will work in specific experiments. Data on antibody use is buried in biomedical papers, vendor catalogs, and independent validation databases. In part because this data is hard to find, up to 50% of selected antibodies don't work in experiments†.
This wastes resources and delays research projects. Our work with pharmaceutical companies suggests each spends $1-3 million a year on commercial antibodies that don’t work. In addition, researchers:
- Purchase unnecessary custom antibodies for $50,000 that take up to 3-6 months to develop
- Spend days to select and weeks to test and validate antibodies
- Redundantly validate antibodies that colleagues in the same organization have already validated
† "Reproducibility Crisis: Blame It on the Antibodies." Nature, 19 May 2015, www.nature.com/news/reproducibility-crisis-blame-it-on-the-antibodies-1.17586.