Turning the Tide for Horseshoe Crabs:
New Hope for an Ancient Species

New Study Proves Synthetic Can Replace Horseshoe Crab Blood in Biomedical Testing

On May 10, 2018 in Cape May, New Jersey, Revive & Restore joined with the state’s First Lady Tammy Murphy, the New Jersey Audubon Society, and representatives of Eli Lilly to announce new research findings that dispel the barriers to adopting a synthetic alternative to horseshoe crab blood for biomedical testing.

In 1997, Ling Ding Jeak (pictured above) and Bow Ho (her husband and research partner) invented Recombinant Factor C (rFC), the synthetic alternative to the horseshoe crab-derived limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL) test, used to test all injectable medications for bacterial contamination.

“Revive & Restore’s focus on this issue is exactly what was needed to galvanize pharma to ‘do the right thing’ and embrace 21st century technology. We hope this will not be too late for the endangered horseshoe crabs.”

—Ling Ding Jeak, co-inventor of the synthetic alternative

News & Press

The Horseshoe Crab’s Role in Pharmaceutical Safety:

This Living Fossil May Have Saved Your Life

“The horseshoe crab is a living fossil that’s called Earth its home for almost half a billion years. And if you’ve ever had a vaccine, injection, or a medical implant, then you might not know that you’ve been relying on this prehistoric creature’s blood to save your life. Now, after decades of waiting, a new synthetic solution could change all of that.”

Bloomberg: New Economy
June 24, 2019

Red Knot Conservation:

The Shorebirds of Delaware Bay Are Going Hungry

“On their migrations north, famished birds stop to feast on eggs laid by horseshoe crabs. But the crabs were overfished, and conservationists say that some bird species may not recover.”

The New York Times
June 3, 2019

The Pharmaceutical Industry Perspective:

Horseshoe Crabs Are at Risk – So Endotoxin Tests Are, Too

“The horseshoe crab’s amebocytes, or blood cells, contain a clotting agent that forms in the presence of Gram-negative bacteria. This agent, which is used to detect endotoxin in pharmaceutical and medical device products, may become scarce if horseshoe crab populations continue to decline.”

GEN: Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
October 1, 2018

Pharmaceutical Industry News:

FDA Approves First Drug Tested for Endotoxins with rFC

Eli Lilly’s migraine-prevention drug, galcanezumab, is the first drug approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to be used rFC as the release test for bacterial endotoxins. Thanks to the perseverance of consulting biologist Jay Bolden, Eli Lilly is in the process of transitioning 90 percent of its endotoxin tests from LAL to rFC.

September 27, 2018

The Last Days of the Blood Harvest

The Atlantic | Sarah Zhang | May 9, 2018

“Every year, more than 400,000 crabs are bled for the miraculous medical substance that flows through their bodies—now pharmaceutical companies are finally committing to an alternative that doesn’t harm animals,” writes Zhang. That synthetic alternative, Recombinant Factor C, provides a “way for modern medicine to make use of modern technology rather than the blood of an ancient animal.”