Just What Does Cell Signaling Do?


Last week, Craig Thompson, senior vice president of Global Operations of Cell Signaling Technology (CST), spoke to the Cricket about what the company does. 

CST creates and provides antibodies for research that scientists from both academic research and private business make use of.  The privately held company is a spinoff of New England Biolabs and was founded by Manchester resident Michael Comb in 1999.  CST employs more than 460 people worldwide, with its headquarters in Danvers and a production facility in Beverly. 

“Basically, we provide research scientists with tools that enable them to better understand what’s happening inside the cell,” said Thompson.  “How proteins interact with one another and function.  That allows (the scientists) to better understand disease processes that then leads to discoveries that can ultimately better the therapeutics for a large number of disease areas.”

Among the diseases that the CST antibodies are used in looking for cures are cancer, Alzheimer’s, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, metabolic disorders among others. 

“Our products are used by—I think it is safe to say—by essentially every major life science research institute in the world,” said Thompson, who added that CST has supplied antibodies to facilities in 140 countries. 

Thompson said that unlike their competitors, CST makes almost all of its antibodies. 


“Most of the products that we sell are generated and continue to be manufactured by scientists here on the North Shore, local scientists that are working in Danvers and Beverly,” said Thompson. 

But with the growth in the business, new research and development space is needed, which is why the company is looking to build new laboratories in Manchester-by-the-Sea. 

“You can imagine, science is not something that stands still,” said Thompson.  “It is something that continues to evolve, one discovery leads to another and as a result more and more of our products are needed by scientists to continue the progression of scientific discoveries.”

Currently, CST has about 10,000 products in its catalog.  About 6,000 to 7,000 are unique antibodies.  About 1,000 new products are developed each year, said Thompson. 

Thompson said the work at the proposed Manchester facility will be an expansion of what CST already does.  

“It’s not to establish new functionality,” said Thompson.  “It’s simply an expansion of our current research, primarily research and development efforts so that we can continue to make more products for the scientific community.” 

Thompson also spoke about the many ways that CST gives back to the community.  They have internship and scholarship programs for both high school and college students.  They also support local artists by hanging and purchasing works of art from local artists, for their various offices.  They also encourage their employees to volunteer their time to organizations of their choice. 

Founder Michael Combs believes sustainability is critical to the long-term life of the planet.

“Just this past year we have committed to the 1 percent for the Planet,” said Thompson, referring to the company’s donation pledge.  “One percent of our revenue gets donated to organizations in support of sustainability.  We are the first life-science company to do so.” 

The company also set a goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2029, which would coincide with the company’s 30th anniversary. 

“We believe in the values,” said Thompson.  “And we live the values.” 

biology, cell biology, cell signaling technology, global operations, craig thompson, cell communication, cell signaling, systems biology, cancer, therapeutics for a large number of disease, michael combs