November 2010: We get awarded nearly $250,000 as part of the stimulus package, specifically the “Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project” program, a tax credit or grant. (The grant is for those unusual biotechnology companies which, like EnCor, actually make a profit). This will fund our work on biomarkers and biomarker assay development, and will be used to purchase robotic machinery so we can increase the rate of our antibody development. We also release a new monoclonal antibody to splicing factor SF3B4, a ubiquitously expressed nuclear protein which is an important component of the splicosome, this antibody being MCA-3A1. We also release a monoclonal antibody to NeuN, the neuronal nuclear and cytoplasmic protein, which is widely used as a marker of neuronal development, neuronal stem cells and for the identification and counting of neurons. For many years the identify of the NeuN antigen was unknown, despite that fact that an antibody to NeuN became very widely used. Recently the NeuN immunogen was identified as Fox3, an RNA binding protein (for reference see here). We expressed human Fox3 in bacteria and made our own monoclonal MCA-1B7, which also stains neuronal nuclei and cytoplasm. We also have an excellent polyclonal rabbit anti-NeuN/Fox3 RPCA-Fox3, which is now also available. This antibody can be used in double label experiments and also without any cross-reactivity problems on mouse tissues.
July 2010: We will release a number of new antibodies in the next few weeks. Watch this space!!
May 2010: A group of collaborators in the Howard Florey Institute in the University of Melbourne, Australia, publish a report on one of our antibodies, the alpha-synuclein monoclonal antibody MCA-2A7. This antibody formed the basis of a novel ELISA which proves to be superior in ability to capture alpha-synuclein from human plasma samples. The paper also describes the epitope for the antibody which proves to be in the central “NAC” region of the molecule. A link to the abstract of this paper is here. Perhaps surprisingly, alpha-synuclein is found in large amounts in plasma, and the levels detected are different between patients with Parkinson’s disease compared to age matched controls.
December 2009: Our recent biomarker work is described in a report published on line by the Packard Foundation, which is devoted to studies of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis leading to a cure of this debilitating and usually fatal disease. The report outlines work published in our recent Journal of Neurochemistry paper and can be viewed from here.
November 2009: We are featured on the Prize4life website because we entered a competition the aim of which is to find a biomarker of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as motor neuron disease and Lou Gehrig’s disease). We entered our pNF-H ELISA which we are continuously improving and which we recently showed appears to be a workable biomarker of this disease (see here). For details of the Prize4life organization go here and for details of the ALS biomarker prize go here.
October 2009: We publish our eigth biomarker paper which reports on a novel biomarker of CNS damage and disease, Ubiquitin C-terminal Hydrolase 1 (UCHL1). UCHL1 is a major brain protein which is concentrated in the perikarya and dendrites of neurons, so that measurement of the release of this protein into blood or CSF gives information complementary to that which can be obtained with our pNF-H ELISA. We examined the release of UCHL1 and compared it to the release of pNF-H and S100beta into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 30 aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage patients. S100beta is an established biomarker of CNS damage and disease, but is believed to reflect primarily injury and degeneration of astrocytic cells. This work was a collaboration between Scientists and Clinicians in the McKnight Brain Institute in Gainesville and EnCor. To do this work we developed a sensitive UCHL1 ELISA using our monoclonal antibody MCA-BH7. The work will be published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research shortly. We have also further characterized our two alpha-synuclein monoclonal antibodies MCA-3H9 and MCA-2A7, and found that binding of both to alpha-synuclein is dependent on amino acids 61-95, which corresponds to the so-called “NAC” regions of this protein, which was discovered as the “Non-Amyloid beta Component of AD amyloid”, a peptide found in senile plaques along with Amyloid beta (Ueda et al. 1993). NAC corresponded to the central part of alpha-synuclein and was how human alpha-synuclein was originally discovereed. These findings extend the utility of these two antibodies.
September 2009: We publish our seventh biomarker paper which reports on pNF-H detection in the blood of rodent models of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and a preliminary cohort of ALS patients. The paper is a collaboration between Scientists in the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, the McKnight Brain Institute in Gainesville and EnCor, and shows that our pNF-H ELISA can be used to track the onset and progression of axonal loss in several different strains of ALS model rodents. This approach may prove to be much more efficient than other methods of tracking axonal loss in this animals and my be useful for screening drugs aimed at combating ALS. We also describe a new pNF-H ELISA made using two of EnCor’s monoclonal antibodies, MCA-NAP4, and MCA-AH1, which work well together. We also show that, like the ALS model rodents, ALS patients release measurable levels of pNF-H into their blood. The results will be published shortly in the on-line version of the prestigious Journal of Neurochemistry. A link to the abstract is here.
June 2009: We release yet more antibodies including a new rabbit antibody to Alpha-II spectrin RPCA-aII-Spec, new mouse monoclonal antibodies to Nestin (MCA-4D11), Tar DNA binding protein 43 (MCA-3H8) and UCHL1. We also have a new peptide antibody to matrix metalloproteinase 2 (RPCA-MMP2).
May 2009: Our solar power system is finally installed and on-line! We now make use of one of Florida’s best free resources, sunshine. Through our feed in tariff agreement with Gainesville Regional Utilities, we are generating more electricity than we are using and, surprisingly, selling electricity to GRU for more we pay GRU for the electricity we use. This seems like a pretty good deal.
March 2009: We continue to expand the number of companies to which we supply our antibodies. The latest additions are Abnova, a major antibody supplier located in Korea and BioVendor, a company located in the Czech Republic. Abnova markets a very large number of antibody reagents, and BioVendor is well known as a supplier of ELISA kits. Also our patent application “Detecting brain damage from blood samples” is approved by the European patent office. This is the basis of our pNF-H ELISA kit.
January 2009: We continue to produce new antibodies of interest to the research community. The first of our new panel of antibodies to alpha-synuclein (MCA-3H9 and MCA-2A7) are now available, as is a new Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein (GFAP) antibody (MCA-5C10). We also release two new antibodies reactive with phosphorylated neurofilament heavy chain (pNF-H), clones MCA-AH1 and MCA-9B12. We also generated a new monoclonal antibody to neurofilament light chain NF-L (MCA-7D1). All of these antibodies are well characterized and significantly cheaper than comparable products from other companies. In an unrelated development, we are now a much greener company since we have signed a contract with ECS-Solar to install a 25KW solar panel array on the roof of our facility. In the near future we will be generating more electricity than we are using, more than offsetting our electricity bills.
September 2008: Our sixth biomarker paper has been accepted for publication, this one in the journal “Molecular Vision”. The paper is entitled ” Phosporylated meurofilament heavy chain is a marker of neurodegeneration in LHON ” and reports a collaboration between scientists in the University of Florida, the University of Southern California and EnCor. The paper shows that our pNF-H ELISA can be used to monitor optic nerve degenereation in Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy.
May 2008: We are pleased that our fourth and fifth biomarker papers have both been accepted for publication. “Validation of a novel biomarker for acute axonal injury in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis”, a collaboration between scientists at the Howard Florey Institute in the University of Melbourne, Australia, and EnCor, has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Neuroscience Research. In addition “The Phosphorylated Axonal form of the Neurofilament Subunit NF-H (pNF-H) as a Blood Biomarker of Traumatic Brain Injury”, a collaboration between University of Florida scientists and EnCor, will soon appear in the Journal of Neurotrauma. Both reports make use of our pNF-H ELISA, showing that it can be used monitor progression of multiple sclerosis in the widely used EAE mouse model of multiple sclerosis and the recovery process from experimental brain injury in a rat model.
March 2008: We are pleased that our third biomarker paper, “Detection of phosphorylated NF-H (pNF-H) in CSF and blood of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage patients”, a collaboration between EnCor and University of Florida scientists and clinicians, has been accepted for publication in the prestigious Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism. This makes use of our pNF-H ELISA, and appears on-line in here.
January 2008: We release another rabbit polyclonal antibody, this time binding to both phosphorylated and non phosphorylated forms of the neurofilament subunit NF-H. The antibody, RPCA-NF-H-pInd, was raised against a recombinant fusion protein expressed in bacteria and binds with high titer and specificity to dendritic, perikaryal and axonal neurofilaments.
September 2007: Stimulated by our ongoing biomarker research we have made many new antibodies in the last few months, including an excellent monoclonal antibody to UCHL1 a rabbit polyclonal antibody to neuron specific enolase (NSE).
June 2007: EnCor’s Chief Scientific Officer and also University Professor, Gerry Shaw, has been busy with the day job recently. In collaboration with a world renowed expert on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS – better known in the USA as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and other serious neurodegenerative diseases, David Borchelt, he was awarded a three year grant by the ALS Association. This grant will perform a detailed study of the release of our biomarker of axonal injury and degeneration, pNF-H, into the blood of patients with ALS. The study (details here) will see if this protein can predict the onset of ALS in individuals with mutations predisposing them to this disease, will see how pNF-H blood levels change as ALS progresses and see if changes in the blood levels of pNF-H can be used to determine how effective ALS therapies have been.
April 2007: We present our biomarker research to the ALS Initiative Meeting in Cambridge, MA. We provide evidence that pNF-H, our neuronal injury and degeneration biomarker can be used to monitor axonal loss in blood samples of rodents with ALS, and we present preliminary data showing that the same is true for ALS patients. These findings suggest that it will be possible to monitor ALS progression and the effectiveness of therapies in both rodents and patients using our blood test.
March 2007: The large biotechnology company Millipore Corporation announces that they have licensed EnCor’s pNF-H axonal injury biomarker assay. This is described in an article from Biocompare News which can be read here.
February 2007: We’re in the local newspaper, the Gainesville Sun, again. The article is here, and describes how we recently moved out of the Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator run by the University of Florida, and set up our own independent laboratory and manufacturing facility.
January 2007: Our second biomarker paper “Comparison of two ELISA methods for measuring levels of the phosphorylated neurofilament heavy chain” produced with a collaborator in the Institute of Neurology In London, shows that our commerically available pNF-H ELISA produces signals astonishingly similar to those produced by an ELISA developed independently in London. Significantly both assays provide potentially clinically useful information when used on CSF samples from a group of patients with various brain disorders. This report is published in the Journal of Immunological Methods.
November 2006: After some delays we finally move to our new location, Interstate Office Park, Suite 40, 4949 SW 41st Boulevard, Gainesville, Florida 32608. This is part of a new office/warehouse complex and gives us considerably more room and puts us much closer to the University of Florida. Our new phone number is 352 372 7022 and our fax number is 352 372 7066. Email contact remains the same.
October 2006: We present our latest biomarker research at the Society for Neuroscience Annual meeting, this time held in Atlanta. We present for the first time our findings that pNF-H can be readily detected in the blood of mouse models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and multiple sclerosis (experimental allergic encephalomyelitis). In both cases we can detect axonal degeneration before any symptoms are visible. We also showed that our biomarker shows considerable promise in the detection of pNF-H in both human CSF and blood of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage patients. For and abstract of this talk see here.
June 2006: We release antibodies to Ubiquitin C-terminal Hydrolase 1, a useful marker of neurons and neuronal lineage cells. Also antibodies to Myelin Basic Protein. Appropriately, since this is the 35 anniversary of the first publication of the ELISA technique (see the NPR segment on that here), we release our first ELISA for biomarker research, our pNF-H ELISA kit, which allows the sensitive detection of the phosphorylated, axonal forms of the major neurofilament subunit NF-H. This can be used to detect this protein in extracts of tissues and in a variety of other situations, including in the blood and CSF of animals given experimental injuries or animal models of human neurodegerative disease states.
March 2006: Our biomarker research is the subject of another TV segment, this time on WIStv of Columbia, South Carolina, who also put a page describing the segment on the internet which can be seen here. This page displays the text of segment and also has a link to the actual program. In another development, we have posted some of our protocols and useful computer programs on our company website (see http://www.encorbio.com/protocols.htm). The computer programs are designed to help researchers perform some of the error prone calculations needed in typical lab work, and many of them are as far as we know unique. These protocols and programs are generating rapidly increasing numbers of hits on our site, and several other internet sites now link to them, such as for example Protocol Online. We are happy to let other scientists use these resources and also of course happy to get a little free publicity.
November 2005: Our biomarker research is described by the University of Florida News and other local web sites and news organizations (see for example the Gainesville Sun article and the Health and Medicine News article). The information in these articles forms the basis for reports in several national on-line and hard copy news organizations, including the Reuters Health Information web site and the journal Neurology. We also give a talk describing some of recent Biomarker research at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC.
September 2005: We make an oral presentation describing our biomarker research at the 4th International Conference on Biochemical Markers for Brain Damage at Boothbay Harbor in Maine. This is the first oral presentation of this material at an international scientific meeting. Our first paper entitled “Hyperphosphorylated neurofilament NF-H is a serum biomarker of axonal injury” on this work is published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications and is now listed in Medline.
August 2005: We form a strategic partnership with Aves Labs, of Tigard, Oregon. This partnership will allow us to generate more of our popular chicken antibodies more quickly and efficiently. We will also market some of antibodies made by Aves labs. Also our first biomarker paper is now accepted for publication in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. The paper describes assay development and research performed by EnCor in collaboration with research scientists in the Universities of Florida and Kentucky. The assay can be used to easily and sensitively detect axonal injury from a blood sample, a significant breakthrough. The paper will appear on line in a few weeks. We also make available a very useful Pan-specific nuclear pore complex monoclonal antibody.
April 2005: EnCor announces the production of a new rabbit antibody to Myristoylated Alanine Rich C Kinase Substrate (MARCKS), which works extremely well both immunocytochemically and on western blots. Also a new rabbit antibody to the actin and phospholipase C binding protein Coronin 1a/p57.
January 2005: EnCor announces the production of a high specificity antibody to neurofilament NF-L, made in chicken, suitable for immunocytochemistry, western blotting and ELISA assays for biomarker research.
December 2004: Our first biomarker patent is now officially pending. This is entitled “Assessing neuronal damage from blood samples”, and is authored by Gerry Shaw, CSO of EnCor, and a collaborator, Dr. Brian Pike, now working at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. This patent describes how EnCor’s antibodies can be used in a sensitive enzyme linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA) to detect proteins derived from damaged and degenerating axons. This assay and others based on it can be used to rapidly and simply measure the degree of axonal injury as a result of damage or disease in experimental animals or humans.
November 2004: EnCor announces the production of several more antibodies, including antibodies made in chicken specific for a-internexin and peripherin. These proteins are major components of the nervous system and antibodies to them have been widely used to classify neuronal cell types and examine neuronal responses to injury. These antibodies, and several others at the final stages of characterization will be available for shipping in early December.
October 2004: EnCor scientists and their collaborators present new data on our biomarker research at the 2004 Society for Neuroscience meeting, held in San Diego 23-27 October by the Society for Neuroscience. This very large international meeting was the venue for the first detailed description of EnCor’s new biomarker research and associated technologies. Abstracts of this work can be seen here.
August 2004: EnCor announces that Universal Biologicals (Cambridge) Ltd., will act as a distributor for EnCor products in the United Kingdom. Universal Biologicals aggressively markets products made by several companies situated in the U.S.A. for the U.K. market.
June 2004: EnCor signs a contract with StemCell Technologies, who will also market EnCor products with relevance to the rapidly growing field of stem cell research. StemCell is a growing company specializing in this area, and is located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
May 2004: EnCor signs a contract with Covance Research Products, who will market a series of EnCor products. Covance is a major biotechnology company centered around the Berkeley campus in California. EnCor also signs a contract with the University of Florida Research Foundation to exclusively license the patent applied for in March 2004.
April 2004: EnCor announces the availability of three new high quality polyclonal antibodies made in chicken which recognize Microtubule associated protein 2 (MAP2), Neurofilament NF-M and Vimentin. These are particularly useful to neuroscientists and other cell biologists for double and triple labeling studies and work very well on tissues of transgenic and knock out mice.
March 2004: EnCor researchers file a patent describing a novel and simple method of detecting the degree of neuronal injury in humans and other mammals using only a small blood sample. This method uses EnCor antibodies in an enzyme linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA) and will be developed into a commercial assay for use by researchers.
February 2004: EnCor announces the signing of a contract with Società Italiana Chimici Srl, who will distribute EnCor products in Italy and neighboring countries.
December 2003: EnCor announces the signing of contracts with Novus Biologicals Inc., Proteus BioSciences and Immuquest, all of which will market certain of EnCors products. Novus is located in Littleton, Colorado, Proteus in San Diego and Immuquest in Cleveland in the north of England.
September 2003: EnCor announces the signing of a contract with the University of Florida Research Foundation. This contract will allow EnCor to manufacture and market 25 monoclonal antibody reagents generated in the laboratories of Drs. Maurice Swanson and Gerry Shaw. The Swanson antibodies include several specific for mammalian nuclear and RNA binding proteins, as well as certain yeast proteins. The Shaw lab antibodies include several very widely used immunoreagents already marketed through several other companies. These immunoreagents will be ready for marketing at the end of 2003.
July 2003: EnCor announces the signing of a contract with Abcam to market some of of EnCor’s new products. Abcam is based in Cambridge in the United Kingdom and is one the largest antibody vendors in Europe.
December 2002: Now renamed EnCor Biotechnology Inc, we rent lab space in the Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator in Alachua, Florida.
December 1999: Foundation of this company: registered as a C-corporation in the State of Florida, initially under the name ABC Biologicals.