The European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE) awarded the first prize in the world dedicated to the development and application of animal-free antibodies on March 30, 2022. The two winners from Germany and Switzerland, who received €10.000 each, presented their extraordinary contributions to the field of non-animal antibodies. The event also featured talks and discussions about the importance of animal-free antibody production by members of the EU Parliament and the EURL ECVAM’s Joint Research Centre (JRC).

One award winner is the company Abcalis GmbH from Braunschweig, Germany, which is one of the pioneers in animal-free antibody production via state-of-the-art phage display technology. At the award ceremony, Abcalis’ co-founder, Dr Esther Wenzel, spoke about the company’s projects aiming to replace the largest group of animal-derived antibodies with superior, widely affordable, vegan “multiclonal” antibodies.

The other prize was awarded to Prof. Dr Pierre Cosson and his colleagues at the Geneva Antibody Facility at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. In their freely accessible ABCD database, the winners list thousands of recombinant animal-free antibodies, which are made available to all interested researchers. Dr Cosson and his colleagues also created the open access scientific journal “Antibody Reports”.

The internationally attended award ceremony was opened with welcome notes from ECEAE’s member of the board, Dr Corina Gericke. The event featured talks from two invited speakers, Tilly Metz, MEP from the Group of the Greens, and Joao Barroso, a member of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission and EURL ECVAM. The speakers endorsed the need to move away from animal-derived antibodies and explained how this can be achieved in the EU.

ECEAE encourages all biomedical researchers to adopt the use of animal-free antibodies and reagents in their work and urges the EU Commission, as well as individual member states to implement ECVAM’s “Recommendation on non-animal-derived antibodies”.