Forget Antibodies. Use Aptamers!™
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About Us

Aptagen, LLC is a biotechnology company offering aptamer (synthetic antibody) products and services as research reagents, diagnostic and biomarker discovery tools, as well as for use in drug discovery and targeted delivery for therapeutics, and bioindustrial applications. 

Aptagen has grown from a one-man operation with the help of local interns to a tight-knit developing business with clients ranging globally from research academics at top-tier institutions to BigPharma companies. Aptagen has been named as a finalist for the “Top Emerging Business of the Year” by Central Penn Business Journal. Aptamers are an emerging technology that is poised to become the next evolution in diagnostics and drug discovery. Aptagen continues to play a leading role in developing aptamer technology that will assist in the treatment and diagnosis of various diseases. 

Aptagen was formed in 2004. Operations began in 2006.  Aptagen is located in Jacobus, PA, a suburb of York, beautifully surrounded by Lake Redman and conveniently situated off of Interstate 83. The facility is a forty minute drive from Johns Hopkins University and Hershey Medical Center.
What Is Aptagen? (Color Version) What Is Aptagen? (Color Version)
G. Thomas Caltagirone, Ph.D. President & CEO G. Thomas Caltagirone, Ph.D. President & CEO tom@aptagen.com ext. 500

Dr. Caltagirone has over 20 years of research and business experience in start-ups. A native of York, PA, he began his studies at The University of the Sciences in Philadelphia followed by a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Drexel University. He completed his thesis on "Proton-Sensitive Ribozyme Switches with Molecular Memory" at Yale University.

Michelle L. Young, Admistrative Assistant Michelle L. Young Admistrative Assistant admin@aptagen.com ext. 300
Andrew P. Sprich Executive Vice President Andrew P. Sprich Executive Vice President admin@aptagen.com ext. 505
Siew-Sim Cheah, Ph.D. Siew-Sim Cheah, Ph.D. sales@aptagen.com ext. 305
Albert M. Liao, BS Lab Director Albert M. Liao, BS Lab Director ext. 508
Bruce Carney, Ph.D., Research Scientist Bruce Carney, Ph.D. Research Scientist
How to Apply
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) (DNA Helix Trophy) = Graduated & fulfilled all requirements of the Aptagen Internship Program.

Aptagen Interns

Jenny Liu
Jenny Liu John Hopkins University M.S.E. in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering 01/14 - Present
Robert Nwokonko
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Robert Nwokonko Kutztown University Biology/Pre-medical 07/13 - 04/14
Raphael Williams, BS
Raphael Williams, BS Clarion University Molecular Biology 06/13 - 11/13
Andrew Sutton, BS
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Andrew Sutton, BS York College Biology 04/13 - 11/13
Sara Wing
Sara Wing York College Biology and Chemistry 09/12 - 02/13
Tsai-Chin (Donna) Wu, Ph.D.
Tsai-Chin (Donna) Wu, Ph.D. University of Illinois Bioengineering/Nanotechnology 08/12 - 03/13
Matthew J. Murray, BS
Matthew J. Murray, BS Dickinson College Physics 07/12 - 03/13
Huong Nguyen
Huong Nguyen Penn State Biology 06/12 - 12/12
Jennifer Minteer, BS
Jennifer Minteer, BS Harrisburg University Biotechnology 06/12 - 11/12
Amiee M. Green, BS
Amiee M. Green, BS Kutztown University Biology 05/12 - 10/12
Kelsey Weren
Kelsey Weren Gettysburg College Biology 01/12 - 05/12
Matthew Gladfelter
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Matthew Gladfelter York College Mechanical Engineering 01/12 - 02/13
Albert M. Liao, BS
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Albert M. Liao, BS Johns Hopkins University Biomedical Engineering 01/12 - 10/12
Caitlin Nealon, M.S.
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Caitlin Nealon, M.S. Georgetown University Biotechnology 10/11 - 04/12
Chelsea N. Thompson
Chelsea N. Thompson Millersville University Biology 05/11 - 12/11
Kyle Kentch, B.S.
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Kyle Kentch, B.S. University of Rochester Biomedical Engineering 03/11 - 12/11
Robert J. Bieber, BS
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Robert J. Bieber, BS Rochester Institute of Technology Chemistry 12/10 - 09/11
Kevin P. Jackson, BS
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Kevin P. Jackson, BS Liberty University Biology with Pre-Med 11/10 - 09/11
Amy R. Smith, BS
Amy R. Smith, BS Temple University Biology/Biochemistry 11/10 - 03/11
Norman Rogers, BS
Norman Rogers, BS Salisbury University Biology 10/10 - 03/11
Christopher Dower, BS
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Christopher Dower, BS Millersville University Biological Sciences 10/10 - 08/11
Dane Kikola
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Dane Kikola Millersville University Biology 09/10 - 08/11
Anne Nixon, BS
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Anne Nixon, BS Penn State University Biology 08/10 - 06/11
Katherine E. Eisner
Katherine E. Eisner Loyola University Biology 06/10 - 09/10
Kristen Sheaffer
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Kristen Sheaffer Millersville University Biology 05/10 - 01/11
Aaron Montani
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Aaron Montani Millersville University Biology 05/10 - 01/11
Dionisi Daoularis
Dionisi Daoularis Drexel University Biomedical Engineering 05/10 - 09/10
Sakkaphan Sawatphanit
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Sakkaphan Sawatphanit Bucknell University Biochemistry 12/09 - 08/10
C. Nicole Groves, BS
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) C. Nicole Groves, BS Towson University Biology 07/09 - 06/10
Marija Debeljak
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Marija Debeljak Millersville University Biology 06/09 - 04/10
Jason Huska
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Jason Huska Millersville University Molecular Biology 05/09 - 02/10
Karen Kofroth
Karen Kofroth Millersville University Molecular Biology 04/09 - 08/09
Ron Ho, BS
Ron Ho, BS York College Biology/Pre-medical 02/09 - 06/09
Jamie S. Harper
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Jamie S. Harper York College Biology 01/09 - 10/09
Nadine Chase, BS
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Nadine Chase, BS Penn State York Science 12/08 - 07/10
Derek J. Jendras
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Derek J. Jendras York College Biology 07/08 - 05/09
Andy L. Ngo, BS
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Andy L. Ngo, BS York College Biology 07/08 - 06/09
Bethany N. Neill
Bethany N. Neill Franklin & Marshall College Biology 05/08 - 11/08
Mitchell B. Crawford
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Mitchell B. Crawford Millersville University Molecular Biology 05/08 - 01/09
Raisa Janella N. Cheng
Raisa Janella N. Cheng York College Biology 05/08 - 11/08
Shelly L. Wesner, BS
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Shelly L. Wesner, BS York College Biology 02/08 - 06/08
Jose L. Pelliccia, BS
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Jose L. Pelliccia, BS Millersville University Biology, Molecular/Biotech 01/07 - 08/08
Elliot Eckard
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Elliot Eckard Penn State York Science 01/07 - 07/10
Vladimir Torres
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Vladimir Torres Millersville University Molecular Biology 01/07 - 01/08
Sameer Shah
Graduated (DNA Helix Trophy) Sameer Shah Millersville University Biology, Molecular/Biotech Option 01/07 - 12/07
Alexis Norris
Alexis Norris Millersville University Molecular Biology 01/06 - 01/07

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What Is Aptagen? (Black & White Version) What Is Aptagen? (Black & White Version)

Aptagen's Executive Summary

Aptagen is a biotechnology company offering aptamer products and services as reagents, diagnostic and biomarker discovery tools, as well as for use in drug discovery, targeted delivery for therapeutics, and bioindustrial applications.

Aptagen develops and manufactures aptamers (ligands of RNA, DNA, and peptide oligonucleotides that bind to a variety of target antigens). Aptamers are sometimes referred to as “chemical antibodies or DNA antibodies.” Aptazymes are aptamers with enzymatic activity. A subclass of aptazymes called molecular switches is analogous to molecular beacons for fluorescent detection of analytes in test samples. Examples include allosteric ribozymes, also known as riboswitches.

Aptagen’s business plan is a dual approach to replacing the current technology being utilized. The retail arm of Aptagen provides customers with an industry first “Apta-Index™” that offers a low-cost service for synthesizing known aptamers (synthetic antibodies) for research and development purposes. The R&D arm of Aptagen has a primary objective to provide a customized service for drug development and therapeutic applications through long-term, large dollar contracts.

The Problem

Current technology is outdated. Antibodies were discovered in the 1890’s and have been the primary biotechnology research vehicle for the last one hundred and ten years. The antibody method involves multiple trial and error experiments that result in extremely high development cost and is only 20% successful on average. Aptamers (synthetic antibodies) were developed in the 1990’s and have been increasingly gaining in popularity and availability over the last ten years. The lower manufacturing costs and the near-endless applicability is solidifying aptamers (synthetic antibodies) as the next evolution of drug discovery and diagnostics.

The Solution

An aptamer catalog of products had not existed anywhere. There are many sources for commercially available antibodies, but until recently, there was not an aptamer (oligo antibody) equivalent. Aptagen has committed to change this situation by offering aptamers (synthetic antibodies) as an alternative to the conventional antibody. In the past, Aptagen had only offered custom services through long-term projects to develop highly customized aptamers (synthetic antibodies); however, recently Aptagen has revolutionized the industry by creating a resource of known (already developed) aptamers in an easy to use catalog called the Apta-Index™.

Antibody and Oligo Market Venn Diagram
Using the current antibody method; for every drug that makes it to market, hundreds of promising candidates that worked in-vitro (on the lab bench) fail during animal ADMET studies (absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, and toxicity). From lab bench to pharmacy shelves it takes from seven to fifteen years and costs $4B with an average failure rate of 80%. Half of this time and approximately 70% of all associated biopharmaceutical R&D costs are spent on in-vitro development.


Because aptamers (synthetic antibodies) are an in-vivo (directly tested in the animal model) approach, they avoid the majority of the bench testing, saving several years and approximately 35% of the R&D cost. The unique chemistry of aptamers, unlike other forms of drugs currently used, permits the natural selection of drug candidates in whole animal models, bypassing the test tube entirely. By using an animal model with the disease state of interest, Aptagen need not possess specific knowledge of the pathology or disease condition in question. As an added benefit, because this approach reduces the false starts, there are actually fewer animals needed for drug evaluation.

Advancements at Local Biotech Company

Contact Us

Aptagen, LLC 250 North Main Street Jacobus, PA 17407 Tel: 717-APTAGEN (717-278-2436)

E-mail: mailbox@aptagen.com

Visiting the Aptagen Lab Facility: