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Transgenic Animals

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“Biotechnology now allows us to genetically engineer animals so that they produce proteins that are human pharmaceuticals. For certain drugs that are difficult to produce using existing methods or are needed in large quantities, production in GE animals offers the most efficient and practical solution. In the case of fighting infectious diseases, GE animal-made antibodies can be produced from animals that have had the human antibody genes transferred to them. These animals can then be vaccinated against human diseases and antibodies can be collected from their blood and used for treating diseases in humans. For example, antibodies can treat infections that are resistant to antibiotics.”
“Other applications include making animal organs compatible with humans, a technology known as xenotransplantation. Research is being conducted to produce transplant organs in pigs that may be a source of organs for humans.” 


“WASHINGTON  —  The Food and Drug Administration made history Friday as it approved the first drug made with materials from genetically engineered animals, clearing the way for a new class of medical therapies. GTC Biotherapeutics said regulators cleared its drug ATryn, which is manufactured using milk from goats that have been scientifically altered to produce extra antithrombin, a protein that acts as a natural blood thinner. The drug’s approval may be the first step toward new kinds of medications made not from chemicals, but from living organisms altered by scientists. Similar drugs could be available in the next few years for a range of human ailments, including hemophilia.”

GTC Biotherapeutics Inc – founded 1993, Framingham, MA  Chairman, President, and CEO: Geoffrey F. Cox
SVP, CFO, and Treasurer: John B. Green
VP Business Development: Ashley Lawton

— French firm LFB Biotechnologies owns about 20% of GTC. “LFB Group is the leading manufacturer of plasma-derived medicinal products in France and 6th worldwide and is also among the leading European companies for the development of monoclonal antibodies and new-generation proteins based on biotechnologies. With its strong focus on research, the LFB Group is pursuing a growth strategy that seeks to extend its activities at the international level and develop innovative therapies. In 2008, LFB reported total turnover of 352,4 million euros, an increase of 9%, and invested 66,6 millions euros in product development. LFB markets its products in 20 countries around the world. For more information about LFB visit


Sep 2009


“In August, 2009, I attended the 7th International Transgenic Animal Research Conference in Tahoe, California. I visited with Dr. James Murray, Professor, University of California in Davis. Dr. Murray is the organizer of the Conference. His research is producing genetically engineered (GE) goats. He and scientists in Brazil are teaming up to develop a herd of GE dairy goats, whose milk is expected to protect against the types of diarrheal diseases that each year claim the lives of more than 2 million children around the world. The milk carries increased levels of the human enzyme lysozyme. Known to provide important immunological benefits, lysozyme is found at very high levels in human breast milk but at very low levels in goats’ milk.”

                               ___________________________________________________________ —spider gene “switches on” in the mammary glands of dairy goats to make “milk silk” for the materials industry, marketed as ‘Biosteel’ super-strong fiber.


“The mammary gland is a perfect natural factory for the synthesizing and production of proteins….’In the future, animals will be our factories,’ Turner says..’Very cheap factories.’…How does a spider gene get into goat milk in the first place? Nexia uses two common spider specimens, Araneus diadematus (the common garden spider) and Nephila clavipes (the golden orb weaver, native to many tropical forests). The spiders are frozen in liquid nitrogen, then ground into a brown powder. Since every cell of a spider contains the precious silk-producing genes…Next, the gene is altered. A ”genetic switch” is added, which programs the gene to ”turn on” only inside the mammary gland of its new female host during lactation… What’s special about spider silk, as opposed to silk from worms, is that it is a unique liquid crystal. And that’s what’s magical, says Turner. ‘Liquid crystals are the Holy Grail of material sciences. They make for incredibly tough, light, strong materials with phenomenal properties. It’s way beyond anything we humans can make. Milled steel pales next to it.’ 

…In 1993, Turner was approached by the two venture-capitalist godfathers of Canada’s budding biotech industry, Bernard Coupal and Ed Rygiel. They had heard of his work at McGill and were interested in finding a way to create a transgenic goat. But where most transgenics is concentrated on making drugs, Turner, Coupal and Rygiel eventually wondered if it might not be more practical, and less risky, to concentrate on materials. For one
thing, they realized, it’s almost impossible for small companies to manufacture drugs. But a simple material that doesn’t need F.D.A. approval is quite another thing.”


Transgenic Microbes

“Moving Genes Between Species

The process by which scientists introduce new genetic material into a microorganism is called molecular or gene cloning. It involves the isolation of DNA from a source other than the microorganism itself. Source organisms span the world of living things, from microbes to plants to animals, including humans. Scientists obtain source DNA in several different ways: by disrupting cells of the target microbe (or plant or animal) and fragmenting it into small pieces, by synthesizing it from an RNA template using an enzyme called reverse transcriptase, or by knowing the specific gene sequence and synthesizing it directly in the laboratory.

Once obtained, the pieces of DNA are inserted into a small genetic component that has the ability to make copies of itself (replicate) independently from the microbial genome. This self-replicating unit is called a cloning vector. Although these genetic elements exist naturally in the form of plasmids and bacterial viruses, many of the ones used today have been altered to improve their properties for transferring genes. Restriction enzymes, which nick the donor DNA and the cloning vector at specific sites, and DNA ligase, which attaches the donor DNA to the cloning vector, allow the source genes of interest to be inserted into the cloning vector without disrupting its ability to replicate.”

An example of transgenic microbes applied to pharmaceuticals comes from Microscience Ltd, acquired in 2005 by Emergent BioSolutions, the formerly named BioPort Corp., maker of anthrax: (from BioPort’s oage)

[Sept 2002] “BALTIMORE, Md.–DNA Bactofection, a novel technology for introducing genes into cells using live, attenuated invasive bacterial vectors, has been licensed to Microscience Ltd. by the University System of Maryland (USM)…Microscience, based in Berkshire, United Kingdom, will use its proprietary attenuated Salmonella serovar Typhi and serovar Typhimurium derivatives to deliver a range of DNA antigens … The inventors of DNA Bactofection are with UMBI’s Institute of Human Virology….Robert Gallo, director, UMBI’s Institute of Human Virology, comments, “Bactofection has the potential to get vaccines to people in developing areas of the world where they may have been unaffordable and unavailable”…

[June 29, 2005] ..”Microscience will be renamed Emergent Europe and will continue to operate from the existing site in Wokingham, UK. It will be run by Steve Chatfield, the founding chief scientific officer of Microscience who joined Emergent in January as senior vice president of R&D…..Microscience was founded in 1996. The venture capital backers Advent Venture Partners, Apax Partners, JPMorgan Partners and Merlin Biosciences put in £40 million up to the attempted IPO, including £25.5 million in the last round in February 2002. Since the IPO failed, they have rounded up a further £5 million to keep the company going.”


Written by citizen2009

February 24, 2010 at 6:16 pm

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