Ligand Binding Assays

What are Ligand Binding Assays?

Ligand binding assays (LBA) are analytical techniques designed to measure the interaction between a ligand (a molecule of interest) and its binding partner (typically a protein or receptor). They help in characterizing strength, specificity, and kinetics of interactions, and are utilized throughout drug development, from target validation and optimization to preclinical and clinical trials.

Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assays (ELISAs) are one of the most common forms of LBAs available. ELISAs rely on the specificity of antibodies to capture and detect the target molecule and are divided into four main categories: direct, indirect, sandwich, and competitive.

The example below provides the set up for a commonly used ELISA, the sandwich ELISA.

Sandwich ELISA Picture

Practical applications of LBAs include:

Drug Development and Pharmacology:

  • Identify potential drug candidates based on target binding affinity.
  • Quantify drug concentration in biological samples and assess its impact on the target.
  • Compare bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of different drug formulations.

Clinical Diagnostics:

  • Detect and quantify disease-related biomarkers in patient samples.
  • Monitor drug levels during therapy to maintain therapeutic ranges.
  • Measure hormone levels for endocrine disorder diagnosis and monitoring.


  • Determine antibody concentrations for vaccine development and immune response.
  • Quantify cytokines.

Food Industry:

  • Identify and quantify proteins in food products.

Research and Development:

  • Study protein interactions to understand cellular processes and signaling pathways.
  • Characterize ligand-receptor binding kinetics and affinities.

Emery Pharma Advantage:

At Emery Pharma, we offer a suite of related services to support your ligand binding assay needs. Our expertise includes:

  • Assay Development
  • Binding Kinetics Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Data Analysis and Interpretation
  • Validation and Quality Assurance
  • Flexibility and Cost-Efficiency

Leverage Emery Pharma's extensive experience in LBAs today to accelerate your research and optimize drug development.