Necessity is the mother (hen) of invention.
Aves Labs was co-founded in 1995 by Gary Ciment and Fazilah Adam. At the time, Dr. Ciment was a professor of Cell Biology at Oregon Health & Sciences University, and his laboratory was having trouble finding competent and reliable companies that made chicken polyclonal antibodies on a custom basis. He was trying to make an antibody against a highly-conserved mammalian gene product, and neither rabbits nor mice were yielding useful antibodies against the human homolog, presumably due to the high degree of sequence homology.
The Idea for Chickens
A conversation with a colleague at a meeting convinced Dr. Ciment to try making that antibody once again, but to try chickens as the host -- chickens being well-removed evolutionarily from mammals, including humans. The results were remarkable: the human protein antigen was highly immunogenic, there were extraordinary large yields of antibody, and the immunoreagents demonstrated tight binding with high specificity.
Since that time, Aves Labs has pioneered novel algorithms for finding highly-immunogenic peptide sequences within proteins, developed novel affinity purification methods specific for chicken antibodies, and developed a host of other useful reagents, such as BlokHen® blocking reagent and PrecipHen® immunoprecipitation reagent. Aves Labs continues to develop novel antibody reagents against neural-specific antigens and epitope tags to foster scientific progress in neuroscience and the molecular biology communities.