Buying antibodies. Opinions?

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Hughthistle
Hughthistle's picture
Buying antibodies. Opinions?

Hi, I'm a new user doing some research in to antibody suppliers. If you make the purchasing call I'd love your thought on antibody suppliers (Santa Cruz, Abcam, Sigma, whoever ...). Particularly I'd be interested to know why you would use one of these bigger middle-men suppliers over the smaller producers. I'm guessing convenience comes in to play but do you shop around on price?

A lot of the antibodies from the bigger vendors are relabelled anyway, but does it matter if you can't tell the original source?

A few questions crammed in there, but any thoughts most welcome.

Many thanks

marcus muench
marcus muench's picture
 Most of the Abs I use are

 Most of the Abs I use are labeled for flow cytometry.  My current favorite vendor is BioLegend because of great pricing, fast service and the quality is good.  I still buy from other vendors such as BD, Invitrogen, R&D Systems, Miltinyi etc because no one vendor has everything I need.  In general I find price and rapid service to be most important as quality is pretty even among the top vendors.  Having said that, I got the feeling some of the quality of Caltag's Ab went downhill when Invitrogen purchased them.  There is a lot of inertia to stick with one vendor once you have things going-don't want to mess with materials and methods too much- but Invitrogen's growing pains were pretty bad and they went from my number one supplier to way down the list over the last year.

I don't buy much at all from the vendors you listed.  I have heard many stories of Santa Cruz antibodies binding antigens they are not supposed to bind.  They offer a hugh quantity of products, but I don't think they have the resources to actually validate what they sell beyond a basic western or something similar.  

Hughthistle
Hughthistle's picture
 Many thanks< I'll certainly

 Many thanks< I'll certainly check out BioLegend. 

The FFM
The FFM's picture
 Price is a Big factor.  I'm

 Price is a Big factor.  I'm not brand fussy.  It just has to work.  But if the product isn't up to scratch I'm not going to mess around reordering a different batch from the same supplier if there are alternatives on the market and I there are some suppliers i turn to as a last resort.  Once bitten, twice shy. A few extra $ for a Ab that works first time according to the manufacturer's instructions is much more valuable than something I have to spend a week or two optimizing before I even start.

I usually use published examples of an antibody working in a research article as a reliable recommendation if it is a commercially available.  And this is where the big middle men will probably score as most people will find the Ab in their catalogues first and cite that product rather than learning that it might be relabeled from a smaller vendor.

newscientist2010
newscientist2010's picture
 Hi, personally, I would

 Hi, personally, I would recommend BD. They can be a little pricy, but the vials almost always have more than what it says, e.g. if it says 100 ul, then it probably has 110-120 ul. Moreover, these Abs work even at 1/20th of the specified working concentrations. And they are really good. You could also try out eBiosciences. I agree with Carson regarding the Santa Cruz Abs, being polyclonal, they pick up a lot of muck. It can be very difficult to separate signal from noise.
I hope that helps,

Happy Ab hunting!!!

marcus muench
marcus muench's picture
 I second the observation

 I second the observation that BD Abs tend to more potent than the recommended concentration.  We often use 5 microliters rather than 20 microliters per staining.  This is for the BD Abs, not the BDPharMingen Abs.

One should also try to check institutional discounts or try to bargain with your reps for discounts.  To spill some beans, we get 25% off on BD Abs, 10% on BD PharMingen Abs and 35% off on Biolegend.  So take these numbers and start arm twisting.

Hughthistle
Hughthistle's picture
 Thanks for all the advise.

 Thanks for all the advise. Does anyone have any knowledge of AbCam? They seem to have pretty huge database and reviews. 

newscientist2010
newscientist2010's picture
 I have used a couple of

 I have used a couple of AbCam Abs. They are pretty good. Again, it's a better idea to carefully titrate the amt of Ab per reaction. Lastly, I still maintain that BD is probably the leader.

Good luck!!

samm
samm's picture
For monoclonals, I usually

For monoclonals, I usually just look at the published clone(s), and pick up the cheapest supplier with the right color/fluorophore - usually this is BDPharmingen or eBioscience or BioLegend in the first tier, and CalTag/Invitrogen, Abcam and Abnova or Novus in the second.
For polyclonals and many intracellular Ags, I'd recommend Cell Signaling - they have already done a lot of the optimization. Epitomics is also pretty good for Rb mAbs.
I actually have a very ambivalent feeling towards Santa Cruz - some of their Abs are nothing short of fabulous, but there have been others that have picked up in excess of 4 primary bands with no trace of the protein of interest! Its kinda hit-or-miss with them, but the good thing is that if you provide the data (good-new app; or bad - did not work as stated), they usually give you Ab credits.
Most of the companies have online ordering, institutional volume discounts and free shipping once you cross a certain $ threshold - so we often just pool our Ab orders.

marcus muench
marcus muench's picture
 Samm,

 Samm,

I also remember someone who's research took off on a big tangent because their Santa Cruz Ab was recognizing another (related) protein.  To the best of my memory, Santa Cruz is the only company I've heard of that has sold Abs as being  specific for one antigen, yet binding other antigens of the same species.  In all fairness I can see how this happens with polyclonals and using peptides for Ag, but it really does seem to happen a lot with them.  Caveot emptor.

Arvind Singh Pundir
Arvind Singh Pundir's picture
Reliability,

Reliability,
Reach,
Quality,
Brand,
Purity,
References,
are the few major factors which i think one looks while ordering the antibodies...................

ScientistOtacon
ScientistOtacon's picture
Another company is AbD

Another company is AbD Serotec. Good range of antibodies, resource materials and pricing.

When purchasing antibodies, another area I focus on is the technical support. Abd Serotec have been fantastic on this aspect.

As others have pointed out, it's fast service, quality and price that can't be overlooked

Elina
Elina's picture
Purchasing Lab-Supplies have

Purchasing Lab-Supplies have often been a streneous task and we land up paying huge amounts to the distributors without knowing the actual price. However i have been immensely helped by Rasayanika. It is a price comparison engine for all lab- supplies. Check it out - http://www.rasayanika.com/

Elina
Elina's picture
Purchasing Lab-Supplies have

Purchasing Lab-Supplies have often been a streneous task and we land up paying huge amounts to the distributors without knowing the actual price. However i have been immensely helped by Rasayanika. It is a price comparison engine for all lab- supplies. Check it out - http://www.rasayanika.com/

Shaad
Shaad's picture
 Hello

 Hello

I work at FabGennix Int. and we actually supply to all of those major antibody suppliers you mentioned, and if you are looking to contact us directly feel free to.  Our website is www.fabgennix.com and if you have any questions feel free to contact me at eval(unescape('%64%6f%63%75%6d%65%6e%74%2e%77%72%69%74%65%28%27%3c%61%20%68%72%65%66%3d%22%6d%61%69%6c%74%6f%3a%73%68%61%61%64%40%66%61%62%67%65%6e%6e%69%78%2e%63%6f%6d%22%3e%73%68%61%61%64%40%66%61%62%67%65%6e%6e%69%78%2e%63%6f%6d%3c%2f%61%3e%27%29%3b')).  

Patrick Harris
Patrick Harris's picture
AB provider recommendation

Abcam recently hiked their prices up. For the exact reasons you're referring to I wouldn't buy from Thermo or Abcam. Two big players who take advantage of the fact that they have a huge market share. In my opinion, at that level they're mostly OEMing the products from the smaller producers anyway. I would check out GeneTex and Biocompare.  I use GeneTex's Zebrafish antibodies exclusively. Outside of that I usually try biocompare first depending on what I need to validate. Novus and Santa Cruz Biotechnology are other well known suppliers but I'm less familiar.  Hope this helps