Skip to content

Frequently Asked Questions

An Optimer® is short synthetic nucleic acid molecule of RNA or DNA that is isolated to bind to a target of interest with specific binding characteristics. Optimer® binders can be used in a range of therapeutic and diagnostic applications. In its simplest form they are antibody alternatives. Optimer® binders show similar binding affinities and specificity to antibodies, but with the ability to specifically bind a wider target range, greater stability, low immunogenicity and improved manufacturability profiles. Learn more.

We develop Optimer® binders for use as targeted therapeutics, diagnostic reagents, bioprocessing ligands and for research use.

Following Optimer® discovery we can functionalise your Optimer binder with the required tags, fluorophores or enzymes to ensure full assay/platform compatibility.

In the IVD space, we have agreements in place with several leading IVD manufacturers, that enable us to simply and efficiently transition your Optimer® binders from development onto multiple IVD platforms.

In the bioprocessing space, we have established partnerships that can enable the rapid development of functional affinity chromatography resins following your custom Optimer® discovery.

We provide comprehensive custom solutions utilizing our Optimer® platform, with the ability to go from initial target evaluation through to delivery of fit-for-purpose Optimer® binders for therapeutic, diagnostic or research application.

We have highly experienced teams dedicated to custom Optimer® discovery and development. We design and execute tailor-made discovery and development strategies to generate binders that enable your desired Optimer® specifications.

We can enable your development pipeline with manufacture of Optimer® products to gram scale, and have established partnerships with large scale and GMP manufacturers to support you as your pipeline progresses to the clinic.

Optimer® binders can be used in the same applications as antibodies, as targeted therapeutics, diagnostic reagents and for research assay development.

Optimer® binders interact with their targets via the same mode of action as antibodies, primarily Van der Waals forces and hydrogen bonds. The only difference is that nucleotides are involved in these bonds instead of amino acids. However, the chemistry and performance of Optimer® binders often allows for increased targeting, reduced off-target effects, tuneable binding and half-life, increased signal:noise and improved assay sensitivity.

Optimer® binders can be applied to a broader range of targets than antibodies, from small molecules to cells and as they are not derived from animals they overcome the reliance on the immune system, allowing the development of Optimer® binders to toxic and non-immunogenic targets.

We offer a low cost, rapid feasibility assessment as the first phase of development to determine the potential for success in Optimer® discovery. This minimizes the risk and offers a quick go/no-go point to prevent wasted resource for our partners.

Of the projects that we progress to full Optimer® discovery we have success rates of over 70% across all three platforms for small molecules, proteins and cell targets, with many of these discovery campaigns having previously failed in antibody discovery.

The timelines for custom Optimer® development are dependent upon the complexity of each project and the technological and engineering requirements needed to identify an Optimer® that meets the specific end-user needs.

The approximate timeframes for Optimer development and delivery are in the range of 1-2 months for protein targets, including NGS services, and ~3 months for small molecule and cell/tissue targets. Our phase 1 feasibility screen offers initial indications of success from the first week following target receipt.

We also offer a premium service where discovery can be completed as rapidly as just four weeks.

These are among the fastest development times in the industry for all affinity molecules, and we work with automated, high-throughput systems to accelerate your pipeline without compromising on quality.

Low target consumption is a benefit of Optimer® discovery, preventing excessive consumption of rare or high cost targets.

For small molecule targets, we require 26 µmoles of target molecule, 11 µmoles of any counter-targets and 10 mL of matrix for the entire Optimer® discovery process.

For protein targets, we require 35 nmoles of target, 30 nmoles of any counter-targets and 20 mL of matrix for the entire Optimer® discovery process.

For cell targets, we require 2-3 aliquots of 1×106 target cells and 2-3 aliquots of 1×106 counter-target cells if the cells are being cultured in-house. We require 40 aliquots of 1×106 target cells and counter-target cells if not being cultured in-house. We require 10 mL of matrix for the entire Optimer® discovery process.

If you require assistance in sourcing your target, we can support you with finding suppliers or target costs can be incorporated into your Optimer® discovery project.

The high specificity targeting of Optimer® binders to functional epitopes means that the discovery process is still effective when targeted to protein subunits (where the whole protein cannot be obtained) or tag-stabilised proteins (for proteins that are unstable in vitro), with final Optimer® products showing no cross-reactivity and binding to full length functional proteins.

Prior to the initiation of each Optimer® project our technical experts will consult with you to gain a full understanding of your project, your specific requirements and timelines. This will enable us to select the best conditions and Optimer® library for your discovery campaign.

During the development process you will receive regular updates from our technical experts with full project reports and consultation at the end of each phase to guide further decision making. Each of the three phases of Optimer® development represent a go/no-go point to minimize risk and enable data-driven development.

Upon successful Optimer® development you will receive 100 µg of the specific Optimer® binder along with a full project report. Our technical team are also available following development to support the implementation of your Optimer® binder within your application.

The costs for custom Optimer® generation are dependent upon project requirements.

A costed proposal is developed on a case-by-case basis and will be discussed with you before the project starts.

We understand the importance of IP to our customers and strongly encourage discussions surrounding IP at an early stage.

Following custom Optimer® development, we can work with you in many different ways to secure the intellectual property rights you need for each Optimer®. A research use only (RUO) licence is granted with the delivery of the Optimer® binders to allow them to be assessed in your lab. You are free to use the binder under this licence on an ongoing basis if the Optimer®-based application will not be further commercialized.

If you wish to commercialize your Optimer®-based product we work in a variety of ways to help mitigate the risk throughout the process, including customer exclusivity, shared IP and full commercial rights. Learn more

Start your next project with Aptamer Group

Contact one of our experts today