We offer full consulting services for all aspects of an assay, conjugation, or antibody development project to involve everything from application of our immunogen design knowledge to helping generate highly specific antibodies to scale-up manufacturing of projects. We will not attempt any projects outside our experience and knowledge – instead offering suggestions on alternatives if we are not the best choice for a project, typically free of charge. 

Our services are flexible. In addition to consulting on a project, we have the capacity to develop, validate and manufacture entire assays if that is what you need. We are not currently a GMP/GLP facility but the foundation of our processes is very GMP/GLP-like. 

How to get started with your idea  

  • To engage our services, we will sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), preferably a two-way.  
  • With NDA in place, tell us everything you know about the molecule and what you want to get from the product we’re building. We need a well-defined idea of what you’d like made to allow us to complete the contractual work rapidly. 
  • Projects are carried out on a time and materials basis at a reasonable cost set after our discussion. 
  • You only pay for actual Arbor Assays scientist time, plus any special raw materials such as custom antibodies, enzymes, or outside synthetic work. You do not pay for time in connection to antibody-generation or synthesis of peptides or organic conjugates.  
  • Please contact us at  contracts@ArborAssays.com for our input into your project. 

Some of our contract customers include…

Enzo Life Science

Augurex Life Sciences Corp.

Magellan Biosciences, Inc

Learn more about our other services:

Custom Assay Development

Because we design, develop and manufacture all of our own assay products, let us put our extensive experience to work for your specialized needs.  In consultation with you, we will decide upon a strategy to give you the most robust assay to measure the analyte of interest using an appropriate detection mechanism: colorimetric, fluorescent, chemiluminescent, or bioluminescent. 

We offer development services for:  

  • Activity-based Assays where the molecule present is detected by a readout based upon chemical or enzymatic activity.  
  • Competitive Immunoassays, where the amount of a small molecule (< 4,000 MWT) is detected by using a molecule-specific antibody to bind either the molecule in the sample or the molecule labeled with enzyme onto a solid phase. We are experts in the development of super-fast and sensitive assays for small molecules.  
  • Sandwich Immunoassays, where the amount of a large molecule is detected by using two antibodies to the molecule; one to trap the molecule on the plate, the other as a method to read how much is in the sample.  
  • True ELISAs (though the term ELISA is now used more universally for all immunoassays), where an antigen is immobilized on the solid phase and antibody in the sample specific to that antigen binds and is then detected using a secondary antibody labeled with enzyme. Arbor Assays will not develop ELISAs to infectious antigens. 
  • Experienced with almost every detection and solid phase technology available, including enzyme and chemically generated colorimetric, fluorescent, chemiluminescent and bioluminescent detection. 
  • Design of project-specific antibodies, high quality custom conjugations, or the whole assay, up to and including manufacturing of any or all of these parts! Our validation methods are stringent and complete, and we are highly skilled in producing robust, stable assays. 

Activity-based Assays are substantially different from basic immunological assays. They utilize either a chemical change to determine the presence or amount of a particular molecule or they monitor the activity of a specific protein utilizing a novel read-out. For example, a classic method to determine the activity of Acetylcholinesterase in a sample is to measure the generation of thiocholine from acetylthiochoine. The thiocholine is traditionally measured using Ellman’s Reagent (DTNB) by the increase in color at 405nm. In our DetectXR Acetylcholinesterase Activity Assays, K015-F1, we use a proprietary fluorophore, ThioStarR, which produces a brightly fluorescent product when it reacts with thiocholine. This improves the sensitivity 10-100 fold over colorimetric methods. The basis for these assays can be difficult to manipulate to produce a measurable signal that will allow determination of the specific change of interest. In consultation with you, we will decide upon a strategy to give you the most robust assay. 

For development of immunoassays, we can guide you on the selection of antibody sources or carry out the development of suitable chemistry to conjugate the antigen for antibody development, and attach the antigen to a suitable readout system. The requirement for antibodies in terms of affinity and specificity vary based on the type of immunoassay being developed. Immunometric or “sandwich” assays typically have less rigidity for affinity and specificity than in a competitive immunoassay, though the usage is considerably higher. We recommend either licensing monoclonal antibodies for the solid phase capture or developing them specifically for assay use. We can carry out all stages of this work from design, Rare Reagent generation, vendor selection and antibody validation through assay validation and production.  

ELISAs are assays with a need to measure the presence and amount of an antibody to a particular molecule. These circulating antibodies can be present because the individual has been given a ‘foreign’ antigen or are self-generated auto-antibodies. The capture of these circulating antibodies is done by immobilizing antigen onto a solid phase. The captured antibody is then quantified by addition of either a general conjugated isotype antibody or a more specific subtype conjugate. We can carry out all stages of this work including conjugating antigen for antibody isolation, immobilize the antigen to solid phase, formulate isolated antibody for use as a standard in the assay, carry out assay optimizations and complete the validation process.  

Rare Reagent Generation

An assay’s ability to specifically and sensitively detect a molecule of interest is critically based on suitable antigenic molecule design. Our scientists design peptides and organic derivatives to allow for the generation of high quality polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies as well as suitable enzyme and luminescent detection conjugates for immunoassay use.  

Under our direction, the high quality, chemical organic synthesis companies we work with make biological molecule derivatives suitable for effective conjugation. We carry out protein labeling with the derivatives or peptides, utilizing porcine thyroglobulin (PTG) for raising antibodies and BSA for ELISA testing, and enzymes for readout systems. 

  • We prefer using PTG over KLH as a carrier protein because of its solubility and size.  PTG can be dissolved in aqueous buffers at 20 mg/mL (far in excess of KLH) and is comprised of 4 subunits each of about 165kDa in size. This solubility can help in estimating incorporation ratios of antigen to PTG spectrophotometrically. 
  • For free thiol group containing derivatives, we pre-treat the PTG with a reagent to add maleimide groups.  
  • For those derivatives with a free carboxylic acid, we chemically activate using DCC/NHS for coupling to protein lysine groups.  
  • The PTG and BSA labeled antigens are purified on desalting columns, followed by analysis to estimate labeling efficiencies when possible. 
  • For antibody development, the reputable service vendors we work with provide high quality antibodies owned by the client. Use of companies providing service work only is important, as companies also selling antibodies commercially can sometimes lead to mistaken loyalties. As the antibody (or antibodies) for an assay is the most valuable component, it is imperative it does not become openly available unless our customer decides to commercialize it.  
  • All projects with outside vendors are given a unique non-specific identifier to ensure confidentiality. 

Sample Testing Services

Our scientists run thousands of assays in a year, and we’re happy to put our extensive experience to work for you. Everything is customizable depending on your samples, your resources, your needs: pre-assay extractions, sample prep necessary, assay samples and ither raw data or completed data analysis in your hands.  

When designing our assays we will test the prototypes in an array of different matrices; serum, plasma, urine, saliva, fecal extracts, among others. Our partnership with the International Society for Wildlife Endocrinology and our in-house expertise in devising methods for efficient extraction and solubilization of difficult analytes allow us to help develop methods for analysis of your samples in non-validated matrices. 

How to get started with your samples 
We need a well-defined idea of what you would like us to do for you.  
  • Tell us as much as you can about the nature of the experiment you want us to do, the number and types of samples we will be working with, and any knowledge or past experiences you might have relevant to the work at hand.   
  • Projects are carried out on a time and materials basis at a reasonable fee set after our discussion.  We will provide a proposal for the work. 
  • You only pay for the Arbor Assays scientist’s time, plus any kits consumed, and special materials or reagents required to complete the work in question.  
  • We prefer to use our kits for the analysis – this saves us time and you money. As all Arbor Assays kits are researched, developed, validated, manufactured and QC’d in-house we know everything about their performance. 
  • If another company’s kit is required for analysis, we can work with that too. 
  • To initiate the project, a 50% deposit is needed to get started. 
  • Once we have your samples and the reagents: 
  • To determine the best dilutions to run samples, we test a few with a dilution series. 
  • The assay data is evaluated with a software program designed to give 4PLC fitting analysis and the resulting sample measurements.  
  • The data is critically reviewed (much like when we look at our own data) for replicate precision and placement on the standard curve. Any samples with values outside of the standard range or with replicate precision not falling within the predefined range would be repeated.  
  • All experimental data is recorded and saved. 
  • When sample testing is complete, a report is generated outlining sample handling and the testing process and results are attached, in raw form and/or as a summary.  
  • Discussion and any additional information needed can be provided.  
  • Final payment is only due once you’ve received your results. 
Would you like to get started?  Let’s start a conversation! 
  1. How many samples do you anticipate having and their matrix? 
  1. Will these be collected all at once or over a period of time? If they are collected over time, what are those time intervals? 
  1. How are the samples collected and stored? 
  1. If there is an extraction what protocol is to be used and who is carrying out the protocol? 
  1. Are the samples analyzed in a single assay or multiple assays? 
  1. Are the samples to be saved or discarded? 
  1. Will limits for reproducibility be set by you or shall we use ours? We will normally repeat any samples above or below the standard curve range or where the replicates fall outside preset determinants. 

Please contact us at sampletesting@arborassays.com for our input on your project or submit the form below.

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  • We will normally repeat any samples above or below the standard curve range or where the replicates fall outside preset determinants.