Unilever, PETA Science Consortium International, and Abcalis Collaborate to Develop Animal-Free Antibodies

PETA Science Consortium International e.V., Unilever, and Abcalis are collaborating on a project to develop antibodies that are widely used in research. The project aims to replace animal-derived antibodies against Interleukin 6 (IL-6) and Interleukin 8 (IL-8) with animal-free recombinant antibodies. Animal-free recombinant antibodies offer numerous advantages over animal-derived ones, including being highly specific for their intended targets and consistent and reproducible across batches.

Abcalis, a leader in the antibody field, uses phage display technology to produce animal-free antibodies and provides services to help researchers improve the quality, reliability, and continuity of their tests and experiments by using sequence-defined recombinant antibodies. With funding from Unilever and the Science Consortium, Abcalis will develop the antibodies targeting IL-6 and IL-8, which will then be used in Unilever and Science Consortium research and made commercially available to the broader scientific community.

“There is an increasing acceptance of the role in vitro assays play in assuring the safety of consumer goods, and a growing desire to remove animal products (including antibodies), from these in vitro assays to make them more scientifically robust and human relevant. Unilever’s long-term aim is the replacement of all animal-derived products from our in vitro work where scientifically feasible and we’re committed to collaborating with other groups across the wider scientific community to meet these goals together,” said Dr Carl Westmoreland, Science & Technology Lead at Unilever’s Safety & Environmental Assurance Centre.

“We are happy to collaborate with Unilever and Abcalis to increase the availability of animal-free antibodies,” says Science Consortium President Dr Amy Clippinger. “Sequence-defined, animal-free recombinant antibodies are more reliable and will help to overcome the reproducibility crisis in research.”