Like PPL Therapeutics, an Edinburgh-based group which recently announced its intention to float, Therapeutic Antibodies uses sheep to produce its main products, which are currently only available for combating snake bites. The difference is that, while PPL obtains proteins from the sheep's milk, TA bleeds its animals to obtain polyclonal antibodies.
Sheep-generated antibodies are said to have a proven safety record, with few side effects in humans. They are used to supplement the human immune system to bind and neutralise the offending target on the cell. The snake bite products were launched last year and are currently only being sold to the Nigerian government and in certain Scandinavian countries.
Martin Brown, the company's US chief executive, said that while this was a niche market, it proved the company's technology.