In 2012, a landmark study conducted by Glenn Begley and his team concluded that the majority of cancer research studies were not reproducible, demonstrating that a startling 47 out of 53 published findings could not be replicated (Nature 483, 531-533; 2012). The implications for biomedical research are potentially staggering considering the billions spent on research every year, some suggesting that as much as $28 billion dollars are wasted on irreproducible pre-clinical research every year (Freedman LP, et. al. PLoS Biology 13: e1002165). While many factors are likely to be involved, research reagents (particularly antibodies used in a wide variety of applications) have been at the center of the discussion. 

Organized by the GBSI and sponsored in part by BioLegend, in 2016, key stakeholders from academia, antibody producers, pharma, funders, and journal publishers came together at Asilomar to discuss possible solutions for antibody validation. The program resulted in Antibody Validation Working Groups that are working towards the development of validation standards.

BioLegend is committed to supporting research by providing high quality, validated antibodies. Learn more about what we do to help make research reproducible in the next tab.

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NIH Requirements


A key element of the NIH guidelines for rigor and reproducibility includes the authentication of key biological and/or chemical resources in research grants. This includes antibodies that are key to any proposed research applications.


What can you do to fulfill these requirements? Prepare an Authentication Plan.


  • Refer to BioLegend’s datasheets that provide quality testing methods, validated applications, reported applications, usage instructions, application notes, publications using the reagent, and other relevant data.
  • Inquire with us about quality control testing data for the specific lot of product that you have and obtain a Certificate of Analysis.
  • Ensure that the lot of product that you have (or will obtain) does not expire before the end of your research plan.
  • Consider your own methods for validating the reagent using orthogonal methods in addition to BioLegend’s quality testing.
  • Consider additional controls, such as knockdown/knockout cells, positive and negative cells, or transfected cells.
  • Consider using Veri-Cells™ lyophilized control cells as targets to ensure consistent performance of your antibodies over time.
  • If using a commonly sold antibody clone, consider testing across multiple manufacturers to ensure consistent expected performance.

The points above should serve as a roadmap to a successful plan for authentication of your proposed reagents. Learn more about Steps to Improve Your Reproducibility. Also read some FAQs provided by the NIH.