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How Much Does It Cost To Make A Custom Antibody?

May 9th 2022

How Much Does It Cost To Make A Custom Antibody?

With advancements in technology, making an antibody has been simplified, and it's now possible to produce antibodies on a large scale. Custom antibody production has been a great concern by most biochemist researchers. However, most people fail to understand the cost of the whole process and prefer to buy an already produced antibody for research, medicine, and vaccine production. Most researchers are torn between buying an already produced antibody and producing their own. However, any of these methods have their pros and cons. This article will look at how much it costs to produce an antibody.

What Is A Custom Antibody?

Before looking at the cost of producing a custom antibody, we ought to understand what an antibody is and the process of making an antibody. An antibody is one of the protein components responsible for fighting diseases and providing immunity to living organisms. Once the body experiences a foreign invasion, the antibodies will immediately respond. On the other hand, custom antibodies are produced in the laboratory using antigens. The laboratory animal is immunized using a specific antigen, and the synthesized antibody is collected in the serum. The process of antigens inducing antibodies in the immunized animal's serum is known as antibody validation.


Image source; https://media.istockphoto.com/photos/human-antibodies-immunoglobulin-proteins-immune-system-picture-id1299289706?

What Is The Process Of Producing Custom Antibodies?

To calculate the cost of producing the custom antibody, one must consider the whole process and the required requirements. Producing custom antibodies can be easy when using the right technology. It's good to note that there are two types of antibodies, and each is produced differently. The two types are; 

Polyclonal antibodies: to produce polyclonal antibodies, animals with specific antigens such as goats or rabbits are used. To understand more about polyclonal antibodies, we have to ask ourselves how to make polyclonal antibodies. Once the appropriate animal is selected, it is immunized with specific antigens, which will induce the production of the required antibodies.

Monoclonal antibodies: They are made in vitro through tissue culture methods, unlike polyclonal antibodies produced in live animals. Animals such as mice are used in custom monoclonal antibodies where it is immunized repeatedly. The immunized animal will induce the specific antibodies harvested in B cells in the form of the spleen. The cells will then be put in only to increase the hybridomas. At the same time, the unfused cells such as B cells and Myeloma cells will die.

The hybridomas, which can be created indefinitely in culture while making antibodies, are filtered for the needed monoclonal antibodies. This process is known as monoclonal antibody sequencing. Those that produce the appropriate monoclonal antibodies are cultivated in tissue culture, and monoclonal antibodies are separated from the medium regularly.


Image source; https://media.istockphoto.com/photos/monoclonal-antibodies-concept-image-syringe-draws-liquid-from-a-vial-picture-id1311811000?

Between the two antibodies, the production of monoclonal antibodies is more expensive and time-consuming. The difference between the two antibodies is that polyclonal antibodies are extracted directly from the serum once the animal is immunized and has produced adequate needed antibodies. On the other hand, monoclonal antibodies must be secreted in a spleen cell and then combined with immortal myeloma cells. You have to identify amino acids in antibodies through antibody sequencing services during the antibody production process. For antibody production, the following process is used:

  1. Peptide synthesis
  2. Selection of appropriate animal
  3. Injection of the animal
  4. Collection of the antibodies
  5. Purification process

Each step used in antibody production will have its requirement and specific cost. The costs of each step are then combined to generate the final cost of producing an antibody. Let's look at each step broadly.

Peptide Synthesis

Peptides are one of the components of antibodies. During antibody production, you have to ensure you have synthesized adequate peptides. The peptide synthesis process was difficult, complicated, and yielded very little output. However, the process has been simplified due to technological advancement, and it's now possible to produce large-scale peptides. Custom Peptide synthesis can be categorized as peptide bonds between two amino acids. Peptides are flexible chains in amino acids.

Production of peptides with different designs and exceptional biological responses is now possible due to technological advancement and increased research knowledge in the chemistry field. Methods such as solid-phase and solution-phase are used in peptide synthesis. Most peptide synthesis companies prefer using the solid-phase method in producing custom peptides. Like protein expression, once Peptides are produced, they have to be purified to eliminate any side products and impurities that might have been accumulated during the production process.

Selection Of Appropriate Animals

Choosing the right animal with a specific antigen is one of the essential steps in antibody production. The animal you choose will then be injected with particular antigens that will produce antibodies in the animal. In this step, you will incur the cost of looking for the lab animal and antigens. If you don't have a lab animal, you will have to buy it.

Immunization Of The Animal

The selected animal has to be injected with specific antigens to induce the production of antibodies. Several factors such as the chosen animal type, characterization of the adjuvant, and the volume of the antibody required will affect the immunization process. You will be required to immunize the animal severally and observe its behavior for some weeks.


Image source; https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/mouse-gm801251926-129949019

Collection Of Antibody

Once there is a satisfying antibody response after immunization, you can now collect the produced antibody in the serum or the hybridoma cells. Different species of animals allow a unique blood circulation volume percentage. The production bleeds, which are the higher volume bleeds, are circulated out over time. The collected antiserum is first pooled and centrifuged to eliminate the cellular debris before testing the quality assurance.

Antibody Purification

Once you have collected the produced antibody, they must undergo a purification process to eliminate any impurities such as antigens to which the animal was exposed apart from the injected antigens. Antibodies can be purified in a variety of ways. These purification methods help to purify antibodies from extreme crude to highly specific. Antibodies from immunized animals will be produced from particular antigens. When separated from hybridoma cells or serum extracted from immunized animal tissue, the antibody can be utilized to probe the specific antigen directly. Monoclonal antibody purification is usually done in the following steps:

  • Capturing
  • Intermediate
  • Polish


Image source; https://www.istockphoto.com/en/photo/ 19-gm1301671034-393648108

Antibody Production In Bacteria

Apart from using an immunized animal to produce antibodies, Bacteria can be used to make custom antibodies. The E Coli expression system is one of the common hosts known for producing antibodies. This is because they are fast and can create new cells compared to mammalian cell systems. In addition, antibodies using the E. coli expression system lack glycosylation.

Importance Of Protein In Antibody Production

Proteins play an essential role in the production of antibodies. Antibodies made by the B-lymphocyte protein move through the blood and lymph, attaching to their target cell and eliminating it from circulation. In many scientific and analytical applications, the ability of animal immune systems to manufacture antibodies that adhere to antigens can be exploited to create probes for detecting compounds of interest. Antibodies are especially well suited to advancement as probes due to several critical characteristics, including their high specificity. Procedures for antibody synthesis and protein purification services were established in the 70s and 80s. Most laboratories and manufacturers that offer protein expression and purification services also offer custom antibody production services.

Custom protein expression has been made easier and more efficient through the production of Elisa Kits by Elisa Kit Manufacturers, which helps measure targeted protein, reliability, and consistency. Elisa Kits Manufacturers have adequate knowledge on how to analyze Elisa data, and you can always consult them when you need advice. For custom protein production, you have to select the appropriate recombinant expression systems for custom protein production to yield adequate and quality protein.

Protein production services can never be complete without gene synthesis. Genes play a vital role in encoding proteins. Also, custom gene synthesis helps determine the functions of a particular protein during the protein expression process. The balance between the protein's synthetic and degradative biochemical pathways determines how proteins are generated in any cell. As a result, gene expression should be regulated throughout the custom protein synthesis process.

The nucleus regulates gene production, especially at the transcriptional level, which controls eukaryotes. It's worth noting that only a certain number of genes are expressed in cells at any given moment. Environmental changes frequently impact gene expression, necessitating certain regulatory safeguards. In addition, the availability of nutrients tends to affect the prokaryotes' genes. There are several genes synthesis companies that offer quality services and are always available for any form of consultation.

Cost of Producing an Antibody

The following factors will determine the cost of producing an antibody

Method Used In Antibody Production And Purification Process

The cost of antibody production may vary depending on the type and method used in the production process. When calculating the cost, the package should include gene synthesis, recombinant expression, antigens, purification, and protein expression services; when calculating the cost—most laboratories and manufacturers specializing in providing custom antibody services approximate the price around $899. Producing a monoclonal antibody can be complicated and more expensive and hence can cost an average cost of $6000- $15000. On the other hand, polyclonal antibodies are cheaper and can cost $1000 to produce using a simple small molecule antigen.

However, you can lower the cost of producing an antibody per milligram by developing your antibodies. First, you must secure a reliable and consistent supply of antigens you need for antibody production. Once you have an adequate supply of antigens, you will save the cost of antigen production. When researchers are sourcing for protein antigens, they either start with cell cultures, tissues, or body fluids such as semen, amniotic fluid, or blood as the raw materials. Secondly, you should ensure you can access a suitable purification method. In most cases, the purification process tends to be more complicated and expensive.

Stages Of Production

Making an antibody is only costly in the first stages, and the production cost decreases over time. As time passes by, you can develop reliable antibody production reagents and methods that help you save the upfront cost. For an instant, in the beginning, you will be required to synthesize genes, peptides, antigens, proteins, and other essential components, which can be very costly.

However, once you have produced them on a large scale, you can use them repeatedly to produce large quantities of antibodies. Another example is finding a laboratory animal to use in the secretion of antibodies. If you don't have access to the animal, you might be required to incur the cost of buying and keeping it in a conducive environment. Once you have acquired the animal, you can use it severally, and it will save you a great deal in your next antibody production.

Should You Buy Or Produce An Antibody

Most researchers are always confused about whether to buy an already produced antibody or produce it themselves. Purchasing an already made antibody can be cheap and fast, especially in the first stages. This is because you will save yourself the hustle of going through the complicated process of producing an antibody. However, as much as buying an already made antibody looks easy and attractive, there are severe disadvantages to using this method. One, you may fail to get the suitable antibody you need, and also, you are not sure of the process used to produce the antibody; hence quality is not assured.

Final Thoughts

Producing an antibody can sometimes look complicated and expensive—however, most of the costs you will only incur in the first stages of antibody production. Once you have set a reliable and consistent supply of the basic requirements, antibody production becomes easy and cheap. If you consider producing an antibody, you need to make necessary prior preparations to ensure a smooth and quick process. Ensure you have all the basic requirements for antibody production.

If it is your first time producing an antibody, you should seek authentic advice from reliable and professional producers who better understand the process. This will help you avoid making mistakes that can ruin or complicate the production process.

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