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PEPTALK 2019 Wrap-Up: Where the Deep Sequencing Repertoire Fits In

Michael Trang | 04/02/2019

PepTalk 2019: The Protein Science Week
January 14-18, 2019 | San Diego Hilton Bayfront, San Diego, Calif.

PepTalk: The Protein Science Week” is one of the world’s largest annual gatherings of protein science researchers and industry officials. This year’s session, the eighteenth since the event began, featured a wide range of experts from the academic and biopharma sectors and more than 1,300 attendees.

I left the event with a couple of takeaways. First and foremost, while deep sequencing repertoire continues to be a hot topic in our industry, the methodology seemed to be less prominent during the event than I expected. For example, the deep sequencing track I attended only featured four posters, which seemed to be a pretty low number.

Most representatives from larger companies talked more about how the process enhances traditional antibody discovery methods and rather than how it can or will replace them. There are a wide range of new technologies to capture the full immune repertoire, but there's a lot of noise to cut through, so using deep sequencing in parallel with hybridomas and/or B-cell cloning allows for a more focused approach. In addition, no one technology for deep sequencing has clearly emerged as a favorite (e.g., microdroplets, chip, etc.).

One hot topic is that companies are working with human donor B-cell samples. Similar to rodent samples, one of the biggest issues was figuring out how best to mine the full deep sequence repertoire. While there are many techniques such as microdroplets, chips, etc., there is no clear cut methodology that has proven to be the best. Here at Antibody Solutions, we have encountered similar issues in our work with rodents and are continually working to improve outcomes, both with our internal R&D and through a strategic partnership with Single Cell Technology (SCT).

Although networking in the exhibit hall was lighter than in past years, PepTalk 2019 provided some useful updates and information on the most recent trends in protein science. I recommend keeping an eye out on the PepTalk site for downloadable podcasts from the event.

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