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Transposagen Receives Additional Federal and State Grant Funds
LEXINGTON, KY (April 21, 2009) – Transposagen Biopharmaceuticals Inc. based in Lexington, KY, has announced that it is the recipient of more than $395,000 in additional SBIR funding; $295,614 from the NIH, and $100,000 from the KY Cabinet for Economic Development’s Department of Commercialization and Innovation (DCI).
Transposagen’s project titled Creation of hyperactive transposons for mutagenesis in rodents, is aimed at increasing the efficiency of their mobile DNA technology by at least an order of magnitude. If the specific aims of this grant are proven, Transposagen could receive additional research dollars from the NIH to create thousands of unique knockout rat lines, laboratory rats with a single gene disruption that mimic a human disease, which are a crucial component of drug development.
The NIH performs extensive external peer review using experts from academia and industry to assess the scientific merit, technical merit, and commercial application of the proposed technology. The following was stated in the NIH’s Project Summary Statement, “…the reviewers agree that this is an exciting application from a highly qualified investigator, and they believe this technology will greatly impact the study of human disease by providing an important model system, and it has a high probability of being successful. The commercial value is likely enormous for biomedical research and development of novel treatment methods of many human diseases.”
“We appreciate the continued support that the NIH and DCI have shown Transposagen,” said Eric Ostertag, CEO of Transposagen Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. “If our goals are achieved and if we continue to receive support from the NIH, we should be able to create a knockout rat corresponding to all of the approximately 30,000 genes in the rat genome in about five years. We are currently providing all knockout rat lines to the academic community through the Rat Resource and Research Center at the University of Missouri. This will be a tremendously valuable resource for researchers around the world.” Thus far, Transposagen is collaborating with academic researchers on the characterization of more than 28 of their knockout rat lines.
At the end of March 2009, Transposagen listed on its public database over 70 different knockout rat lines. Over 90 percent of the world’s knockout rat lines have been created using Transposagen’s technology, making Transposagen the worldwide leader in the production of knockout rat lines.
A variety of tissue from each knockout line is being collected and stored for future study. Ostertag believes that the resulting tissue bank will be a very valuable tool for pharmaceutical researchers. “As thousands of rat models are added to the TKO™ Rat Tissue Bank, meaningful proteomic and metabolomic studies can be preformed to discover new drug targets,” said Ostertag. “Our TKO™ rat products can enable pharmaceutical companies to rebuild their drug pipelines and better predict the success or failure of their new therapeutic compounds at an earlier stage in the drug development process.”
“The federal award to Transposagen for its cutting edge research proves that our SBIR-STTR Matching Funds Program, which helped bring the company to Kentucky, is attracting some of the world’s foremost science and technology firms,” said Larry Hayes, interim secretary for the Cabinet for Economic Development. “These high-tech firms are leading the way in developing Kentucky’s knowledge-based economy and are helping establish our state as a world-class location for research and development.”
Transposagen has received grant funding commitments for over $3.7 million since 2005. This includes previous SBIR awards from the NIH and DCI.
About Transposagen Biopharmaceuticals:
Transposagen Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., a Lexington, Ky. based company, is the worldwide leader in the creation of unique genetically modified rat models. These models mimic human diseases and are used for drug discovery and development research. The production of animal models is a $1.2 billion/year market and is expected to grow 12 percent annually through 2012.