GenPharm International Inc. announced Monday that it hasreceived its second government grant in a week regarding itstransgenic animals. GenPharm will use a $3.1 million grantfrom the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) of the NationalInstitute of Standards and Technology to develop andstandardize its transgenic immunodeficient mice (TIM) as hostsfor transplanted human tissue for research applications.
The Mountain View, Calif., company hopes to develop areplacement for the severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID)mouse that will act as a passive host for transplanted humantissue without producing any mouse antibodies. "The SCIDmouse is an enormously valuable animal," David Winter,GenPharm's president and chief operating officer, toldBioWorld. "But it does tend to leak a little bit; it produces amouse reaction." Transgenic animals of this sort have beenused as models in the study of various diseases and therapies,including AIDS, cancer and other autoimmune disorders.
GenPharm has received four small business innovationresearch (SBIR) grants from the National Institutes of Healthfor a total of about $2 million for its transgenic animalresearch, Winter said. The company was also awarded an ATPgrant of $5.3 million last March for the development of yeastartificial chromosome transfer technology, which the companysaid allows the expression of a large number of correctlyregulated human genes in mice. With this latest grant, thecompany has received more than $10 million in governmentfunding -- almost all of it within the past year.
Although privately held GenPharm does not disclose itsfinancial information, Winter said government funding hascontributed "a significant portion" of the company's researchand development expenses.
On Jan. 19 the company announced that it had received an SBIRgrant from the NIH to develop its technology for the productionof a transgenic rat model of Alzheimer's disease.
-- Karl A. Thiel Associate Editor
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