Crystal Bioscience Develops First Non-Mammalian, Fully-Human Monoclonal Antibody Platform - Reaching a New Universe of Novel Epitopes

Crystal Bioscience today introduced the first antibody discovery platform producing fully human sequence monoclonal antibodies from a non-mammalian vertebrate.   Using their proprietary genetic engineering technology, Crystal has created lines of chickens from which fully human monoclonal antibodies are recovered to create novel therapeutic candidates.  These unique antibodies are isolated from the “HuMab” chickens using Crystal’s GEM assay which interrogates large populations of single B cells within hours after their recovery from immunized birds.  

With this discovery platform, Crystal expands the number of epitopes that can be interrogated and accelerates the discovery timeline by eliminating the humanization process.  By creating monoclonal antibodies that recognize the human and murine homologues of therapeutic targets in a fully human format, Crystal also de-risks therapeutic development by abolishing the need to use surrogate antibodies in pre-clinical studies. Crystal’s technologies have been used to recover antibodies in the area of immuno-oncology and against difficult targets such as ion channels, GPCRs and BDNF where the human and murine homologues are too highly conserved to elicit an immune response.

“Since its inception in 2008, Crystal has been using conventional chickens to generate novel therapeutic candidates,” said Rob Etches, CEO of Crystal Bioscience.  “Although these antibodies have all of the advantages conferred by the chicken repertoire, they require humanization.  It is a significant step forward to harvest fully human sequence monoclonal antibodies and have the option to consider every antibody in the panel when selecting the most desirable candidates.” 

“This is a watershed moment in the evolution of antibody discovery platforms.  We now have the ability to recognize novel epitopes that are hidden by tolerance in mice and other rodents” said Herb Heyneker, a founder of the biotechnology industry and an inventor of Genentech’s Cabilly patents which first described microbial expression of antibodies.

"Chicken-derived mAbs frequently recognize both the murine and human homologues of the target.  Using these cross-reactive antibodies instead of a surrogate mAb in preclinical studies increases their predictive value” said Matthew Moyle, a biotechnology executive who has headed antibody discovery programs at Tanox, Theraclone Sciences and Boehringer Ingelheim.

Jonathan MacQuitty, who was CEO of GenPharm where the HuMab mouse was initially developed stated “The team at Crystal has not only developed a world class antibody discovery platform, they have created the underlying platform to engineer the genome of birds.  This is a remarkable achievement.”

About Crystal Bioscience

Crystal Bioscience is an antibody discovery company focused on developing unique therapeutic assets using its proprietary GEM assay and its “HuMab” Chicken.  These antibody discovery platforms are protected by a suite of patents and know-how that are shared with the biomedical research community through collaborative agreements.  Current collaborators include academic institutions, not-for-profit organizations, large pharma and biotechnology companies.

For more information, please visit or contact Robert Etches, CEO,  510-250-7798 or

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