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What is an aptamer?

Aptamer Group > Optimer® advantages > What is an aptamer?

Aptamers are oligonucleotide molecules, selected from large libraries to bind a specific target.

Aptamers can be used as an antibody alternative in a variety of therapeutic, diagnostic, and target-binding applications. These short single-stranded DNA or RNA oligonucleotide molecules are flexible, so capable of folding to:

  • wrap around a small molecule target
  • fit into clefts and gaps within the surface of much larger target molecules

This flexible nature of aptamers, to fold into or around the complex surfaces of a target molecule, means that aptamers can be selected to a wide target range, including targets that are traditionally difficult for other affinity reagents.

Aptamers vs antibodies

Aptamers are synthetic affinity molecules that can specifically bind to both large and small molecules

The ability of aptamers to act as antibody mimetics means that aptamers can be substituted for antibodies in a wide variety of applications, such as therapeutic targeting, biosensors, and affinity chromatography. Aptamers can also be readily conjugated to gold nanoparticles or quantum dots as a basis for point-of-care diagnostics.

FeatureMonoclonal antibodyProtein scaffold affinity reagentsAptamer
Target classProtein, peptides etc.Protein, peptides, cellular proteinsProtein, peptides, cells, tissues, small molecules
Toxic or poorly immunogenic targetsNoYesYes
Controllable binding and release conditionsNoYesYes
Isolation processIn vivoIn vitroIn vitro
ScaffoldmAbsVarious protein scaffolds in useNo fixed scaffold
ProductionHybridoma cultureHybridoma/bacterial cultureSolid phase synthesis
StorageHybridomaCloneSequence ID
SupplyLiquid, cold-chainLiquid, cold-chainDry, room temperature

Aptamers offer significant experimental and production benefits over alternative affinity reagents

Our next-generation aptamer discovery processes are engineered to overcome many of the traditional problems associated with antibodies and other protein affinity reagents. We offer a viable alternative that can function as therapeutics, delivery vehicles, in diagnostics, and across many research applications.

Why work with Aptamer Group?

Our extensive experience with aptamers led to the development of Optimer® binders. Optimer® binders are next-generation aptamers, that have been optimised according to the target, application, and assay environment, and manufacturability characteristics of the molecule to ensure optimal performance and commercialisation.

We have a success rate of over 70% in identifying functional aptamers with high target affinity and selectivity.

We start with the end in mind: The specific end-use application and performance requirements of the Optimer® are integrated into our discovery and development processes, resulting in a truly customised solution. These Optimer® binders are further developed through our high-throughput processes to deliver high-performing, next-generation aptamers with the best manufacturability profile for simple downstream integration.


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