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What is An Aptamer?

Finding a diagnostic reagent that is right for a point-of-care application can be tricky due to the long list of obstacles that need to be overcome. The reagent needs to be shelf-stable, give reproducibly sensitive and selective results, be easy to synthesize, and most importantly, be inexpensive. For many diagnostic reagents on the market currently, such as antibodies, all of these criteria are not satisfied, and this is the primary cause of pain to diagnostic kit providers. Aptamers check all the boxes on this list.


What is An Aptamer?

Aptamers are short single stranded DNA or RNA molecules that can selectively bind to any target that they are designed to bind to. Since aptamers are single-stranded, they can assume a variety of different three-dimensional structures, such as loops and stems. The large variety of shapes possible allows aptamers to have high selectivity and specificity. Aptamers are not made in living organisms; they are synthesized on an instrument. This means that we have complete reproducibility in performance from batch-to-batch of synthesis. Given that the selection of aptamers is done on a lab bench and not inside an animal, the targets for binding can be anything from cells and large biomolecules down to small molecules that would not be sufficiently antigenic for antibodies.


An aptamer binding to a target


Why Aptamers?

The use of aptamers in the detection or selection of targets has been around for decades. The technology to make aptamer design quicker and more selective is continually getting better. Currently we have the capacity to complete an entire aptamer selection and delivery project in three months. Aptamers can be shipped, stored, and used at various temperatures, which makes then more reliable and robust for diagnostic tests than antibodies. Aptamers have shown to be promising tools not only in the diagnostic world, but also in the therapeutic space where drugs can be attached to them in order to deliver treatments to specific cells. 


At NeoVentures we have revolutionized the selection of aptamers and can optimize the structure to increase the binding affinity to targets. To learn more, get in touch with our team today.