CiteAb is fast becoming the go-to place for antibody search. And it’s part of the vibrant southwest tech scene that is making Bath and Bristol an exciting place to do business right now

The simple way to find the right antibody for your experiment

Founded in March 2013 by in as a response to repeated exasperation when trying find the correct antibodies for experiments. Dr Andrew Chalmers, senior lecturer at the University of Bath and co-founder of CiteAb had this to say about his reasons for starting CiteAb:

“My own frustration at the amount of effort students and postdocs in my lab spent looking for antibodies, and the number of antibodies we bought that didn’t work, were real drivers in developing the idea for CiteAb. The time and money wasted made me believe there must be a better way of searching for and choosing between antibodies.”

So they resolved to solve the problem and CiteAb was born. Dr. Andrew Chalmers (University of Bath) and Dave Kelly (Storm Consultancy) were the co-founders, with guidance and support provided by the University of Bath. Their aim was to to help researchers find the right antibody for their experiments – ultimately saving time and money, and helping research progress faster, By June 2013 they already had 1 million antibodies listed on their search engine (it’s now approaching 2 million with the words “Aaah – too… many… antibodies!”) The site now gives researchers access to antibodies from over 60 companies worldwide, rated by their citations in over 100,000 research papers.CiteAb also won an award for ‘best startup’ shortly after they launched, recognising the significant impact they had made in the market within a fairly short amount of time. Now they are looking at ways to ensure the long-term stability and progression of CiteAb, which is a really exciting phase of their development.

What makes CiteAb stand out from their competitors is the veracity of their search results. Unlike other antibody search engines, no company can pay to have their results top listed. CiteAb is unbiased and as Dr. Chalmers explains “The core ethos of CiteAb is that we are completely impartial – we list antibodies according to citations, so the only way an antibody can move up the ratings is to be used successfully in research and be cited by other researchers.”

Typical CiteAb users are research scientists from a range of research institutions and pharmaceutical companies who want to find antibodies that are known to work. Their clients are usually based in the pharmacy or biotechnology sector, often companies that produce and sell antibodies. They work with us to ensure their latest products are listed on CiteAb and they’re also very interested in the data we can show them that reflects the state of the market.

So what comes next for CiteAb? First they built up the data, (CiteAb is the largest citation ranked antibody search engine in the world) now comes the time to analyse it. Recently they’ve been taking a more in depth look at the wealth of publication data held within CiteAb. This has allowed them to produce a series of reports showing market share trends for countries, companies, antibodies and research areas. Unlike the usual market surveys, CiteAb’s are unique in that they’re based on analysis of hundreds of thousands of antibody specific publications, so they are able to provide a comprehensive and unbiased view of the bioscience research market. That huge database of antibody citations also provides a valuable resource to find experimental details when planning antibody experiments.

Being based in Bath has its advantages too: Dr Chalmers has a really strong network of potential CiteAb users here in the city in the University of Bath’s thriving Faculty of Science. The University provided CiteAb with a great deal of support during the initial development and spinout, and continues to be involved on the CiteAb board. Connections within the sector that can be reached through an institution like the University of Bath are invaluable to a small company in its early years. The city of Bath is also conducive to the growth of young companies – especially those with a digital or online angle. According to Matthew Helsby, the development manager at CiteAb “The city has a strong digital presence and there is a lot of support for startups and those new to business.”

That’s not to say it has been completely plain sailing. For Dr. Chalmers, who has a background in research, moving into the business world has meant a completely different way of working. The adjustment took some getting used to and although he wished he would have known that everything would take twice as long as you might expect, he has found the whole process extremely exciting. Luckily David Kelly, the other co-founder, with a background is in web software development, was there to provide support on the business and software side although he said “just learning what an antibody is” was a good first step for him.

Although not currently looking for investors or employees, as they are quite a young startup, CiteAb believe with the future looking as bright as it does that hopefully they will do soon. Opportunities are first posted on their blog so it’s worth keeping an eye on that and they are always keen to hear from people who are interested in CiteAb, so if you’ve any questions please do give them a shout, as “we love to talk about our organisation!”

Additional Info: blog and social media (LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook/Google+)

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